the entry to JPMorgan Chase & Co. with benches for seating
Andrew Neyer’s Astro Light pendants float above Naoto Fukasawa’s Common benches in the office entry.

Inside JPMorgan Chase’s Historic D.C. Offices by Studios Architecture

The nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., is also one of the oldest, tracing its origins to the late 1700’s. “Respecting history and supporting art and culture have been a part of our DNA since inception,” explains Farzad Boroumand, the bank’s executive director and global real estate head of design. It was only fitting, then, that when choosing a home base for its new mid-Atlantic headquarters, the financial institution would purchase a venerable property: the 1922 Bowen Building in the heart of D.C.’s Historic Fifteenth Street Financial District.

Much like JPMorgan Chase itself, which is a synthesis of many institutions that have merged or been acquired over the years, including First Republic Bank last month, the Bowen is a hybrid of several early 20th-century structures that had been combined and expanded in phases. Although the 12-story limestone edifice is not landmarked, its listed status and contribution to a historic district stipulated a sensitive renovation—and an equally conscientious design partner. After inviting proposals from several firms, the client selected Studios Architecture. “Studios stood out by suggesting innovative interior solutions that were appropriate to the classical exterior,” Boroumand recalls.

For JPMorgan Chase, Studios Architecture Designs a LEED-Certified HQ

The firm’s work at the LEED Silver–certified headquarters, totaling 231,000 square feet, encompassed a subterranean mechanicals level, the lobby and an adjacent ground-floor community center, four levels of employee and executive workspace, and a client center with a terrace. The primary challenge was to deliver the perfect marriage of old and new. “The client sought a modern scheme that spoke to who JPMorgan Chase is and would carry the organization, with its rich history, into the future,” says Studios board chair and principal Marnique Heath, who teamed with the client to lead the project with the support of Studios associate Ethan Levine, both architects from the firm’s D.C. office.

in the library of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Washington headquarters
At JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s regional headquarters, a 231,000-square-foot, seven-level Washington project by Studios Architecture, Douglas Levine’s Tsai sofa and Oanh chairs surround Luca Nichetto’s Luca nesting tables in the library, part of the client center floor.

Many of the gestures, Levine notes, “were centered on thresholds, creating opportunities for visitors to pass into the bank and make them feel a sense of belonging.” That starts at the main entry sequence leading from Fifteenth Street. The client requested that it convey welcome and a sense of transparency, which Studios answered by introducing a glazed portal with revolving doors and, above, a glass canopy.

The Office Design Features Restored Details

In the lobby beyond, the team restored the existing decorative ironwork detailing the marble portals’ arched transoms, framing them with new dark-oxidized bronze screens featuring an abstracted version of the same triangular motif—a contemporary yet continuous expression. Overall, the scheme centers on interventions that compliment, rather than copy, the existing elements, Levine says. “The interior is an amalgam: We kept the best of the old and contributed new features intended to hold up just as well.” In that same vein, Studios installed terrazzo floors in a custom mix throughout, a “timeless and incredibly durable material that marries well to both the modern and the historic,” Heath explains.

The vibe of welcoming access extends to the community center occupying the building’s north end. A mix of work and lounge areas furnished with clean-lined pieces lends abundant adaptability, as do retractable walls that subdivide the space as needed. Besides serving as an event venue for confabs like community board meetings and nonprofit fundraisers, the 1,750-square-foot multipurpose center gives spatial expression to JPMorgan Chase’s recent financial commitment to supporting the greater Washington economy and helping close the racial wealth divide in the region through measures like flexible low-cost loans and investment in philanthropic capital.

an oxidized-bronze screen with a custom pattern in the lobby of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The lobby’s oxidized-bronze screens feature a custom pattern that abstracts the existing original metalwork.

Studios Architecture Creates a Flexible Workplace for JPMorgan Chase

The client center, up on the building’s 11th floor, houses various conference rooms and meeting areas as well as a generous terrace. Continuing the transparency theme, Studios carved out a double-height volume along the terrace-side perimeter, which serves as an airy waiting area. The firm also made substantial facade alterations here, expanding the glazing to create more openness and invite broader views of the Washington Monument and the White House. A new feature stair, its balustrade incorporating the same metalwork used on the ground floor, leads to the executive level on 12.

An elevator bay with tinted, mirrored panels and a series of LED mobile-esque chandeliers provides access to the three renovated floors of flexible work areas accommodating some 500 employees. Architect and client collaborated to uncover future-oriented strategies for the office proper. “We investigated entirely different models of working, incorporating features such as virtual meeting spaces and more homelike and lounge-y environments,” Heath recalls. A diversity of furniture types and finishes, along with 2,500 square feet of open lounges on each work floor, encourages staff members to access different settings as they shift activities throughout their day.

Ultimately, the Bowen Building stands as an example of how legacy institutions like JPMorgan Chase can build a framework for serving their communities on multiple fronts—one that acknowledges the past while making much-needed modern interventions to cocreate a better future for all.

Behind the Design of JPMorgan Chase’s D.C. Office

the lobby of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s headquarters with terrazzo flooring
Terrazzo flooring flows through the lobby, where walls and the custom reception desk with belting-leather inset are limestone and millwork is walnut and oak.
the elevator lobby at a financial company's Washington headquarters
Custom laminated, mirrored panels clad the client center’s elevator lobby, with Sean Lavin’s Klee chandeliers.
red loungers in a waiting area
Space Copenhagen’s Lunar lounges furnish a seating vignette in the center’s waiting area.
a woman walks up the stairway to the executive suite at JPMorgan & Chase
A stair screened in oxidized-bronze balustrades and glass fins leads up to the executive suite.
the facade of the 1922 Bowen Building, now home to JPMorgan & Chase Co.
The facade’s arched ironwork transoms are original to the 1922 Bowen Building, while the revolving door, curved side­lights, and canopy above—all glass—are new.
inside the community center area of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. office
A custom-stained hemlock slatted ceiling distinguishes the subdivisible community center, with Samuel Lambert’s Dot Linear Suspension pendant fixtures and Joe Gebbia Neighborhood sofas.
a client conference area in a financial services headquarters
In the client center conference area, a custom composition of Stencil pendants illuminates Francesco Favaretto’s Bombom swivel chairs and Bao armchairs by EOOS.
a work lounge with salmon furnishings and BuzziDome pendants
Palisades Grid shelving divvies a work lounge, lit with BuzziDome acoustic pendants.
alternating carpet patterns separate work spaces in this office
Railway Carriage Classic dividers and alternating patterns of nylon carpet tile distinguish separate seating zones in a work lounge, with Anderssen & Voll’s Connect Modular sofa.
the entry to JPMorgan Chase & Co. with benches for seating
Andrew Neyer’s Astro Light pendants float above Naoto Fukasawa’s Common benches in the office entry.
Petrified moss garnishes custom environmental graphics in this office
Petrified moss garnishes custom environmental graphics.
an outdoor terrace of a Washington financial services building
The glazing was expanded along the terrace, improving indoor/outdoor connection.
a workspace in a financial company's office with grey partitions between desks
Aeron chairs by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick and Antenna Fence desks distinguish a workspace.
Studios Architecture: ashton allan; monica castro; kristian passanita; tammy chan; ruben smudde; jennifer hicks; jesse wetzel; katherine luxner; june zhu; maria percoco; gabriel boyajian
gordon: landscape architect
interior plantscapes: interior plantings
mcla: lighting designer
tce & associates: structural engineer
GHT: mep
columbia woodworking; jefferson millwork & design: millwork
boatman & magnani: stonework
gilbane building company: general contractor
bright chair: sofa, chairs (library)
modernfold: sliding door
B&B Italia: shelving
bernhardt design: tables, credenza (library), sofa (community center), coffee table, white lounge chairs (conference area)
spinneybeck: desk leather (lobby)
shickel corporation: custom screens
flos: custom pendant fixtures (lobby, client center)
bendheim: custom paneling (elevator lobby)
tech lighting: chandeliers
whitegoods: cove lighting
Stellar Works: armchairs (waiting area)
cassina: table
emerald ironworks: custom stair
planter­worx: custom planters (waiting area, terrace)
pilkington: glazing (exterior)
boon edam: revolving door
alpolic: canopy
skyfold: retractable walls (community center)
Lambert&Fils: globe pendants
vibia: pendant fix­tures
datesweiser: worktables
arper: chairs
martin brattrud: banquettes
9wood: ceiling panels (com­munity center, office entry)
londonart: wall­covering (conference area)
walter knoll: blue lounge chairs
axis lighting: linear pen­dants (conference area, lounge)
BuzziSpace: dome pendant (lounge)
spacestor: cus­tom shelving
stylex: coffee table
Scandinavian Spaces: lounge chairs
muuto: sofa, ottomans
astek: wall­covering
naughtone: two-tone sofa
milliken: carpet tile (lounge, workspace)
Andreu World: tables (ter­race)
Janus et Cie: stools, chairs, sofa
Tuuci: umbrella
stepstone: pavers
andrew neyer: pendant fixtures (office entry)
adler display: environmental graphics
Greenmood: petrified moss
viccarbe: benches
herman miller: task chairs (workspace)
knoll: workstations
armstrong: ceiling tile
applied image: privacy graphics
evensonbest: furniture supplier
transwall: glass partitions
guardian glass: exterior glazing, fins
kawneer: curtain wall, storefront system
ege: carpet tile, rugs, broadloom
Sherwin-Williams: paint

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