NPR’s Headquarters

NPR's Headquarters, looking east
NPR’s Headquarters, looking east
Side view of the triangular building, looking from Mt. Vernon Square. The DC Convention Center is just to the north of where this photograph was taken.

NPR's Headquarters main entrance
NPR’s Headquarters main entrance
The main entrance to NPR is along Massachusetts Avenue, and this banner in front of the construction scaffolding shows the address that I hear often on the radio: 635 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, Washington, DC, 20001.

NPR's Headquarters facing Massachusetts Avenue
NPR’s Headquarters facing Massachusetts Avenue
Three banners, “Think” – “Explore” – “Share,” hang from the front of the headquarters.

NPR's Headquarters viewed from 6th St and Massachusetts Ave NW
NPR’s Headquarters viewed from 6th St and Massachusetts Ave NW
VW car billboard, supplementing NPR’s membership dues and corporate sponsorships?

This one is purely for fun. For those at the recent ALA annual conference in Washington, DC — did you know that the National Public Radio headquarters was just a block away from the convention site? My hotel was one block further east, so I walked behind this building most days to get to the convention center. It wasn’t until the third day that I read the markings on the loading dock of the building and the fourth day when I took my camera along to take these pictures. I regret that I didn’t have time to take a tour, but next time ALA is in DC I’ll definitely make plans to do so. (Anyone up for a group tour? Maybe we can meet Kee Malesky, NPR’s Librarian.)

I don’t know how long the building has been there, but from the style I would guess the late 1970s. There was scaffolding set up around the perimeter to protect occupants from falling objects. The picture of the banner over the entrance shows the scaffolding the best. Perhaps they need some more fundraising to fix up their building. If so, as the last picture shows, they are using the east-facing brick wall of the building as a billboard for a VW car ad. That is a nice way to supplement membership pledges and corporate sponsorships.

From our hotel I had the view of the NPR headquarters building from six floors up. It was a good vantage point to see the cars as they pulled into the underground garage and adjacent parking lot. I tried to form mental images of the NPR personalities and make guesses about who was driving up to the building.

It is an odd feeling to see the headquarters in person. It is sort of like the times my wife and I drove past the OCLC headquarters when we were moving to Columbus, OH. (OCLC’s Kilgor building doesn’t have scaffolding around it, but it did have a big crane the other day lifting what looked like some sort of chiller onto the roof.) Our real estate agent thought we were a weird couple when we would bow respectively towards the building as we drove past. That was until we explained how OCLC to us librarians was like the real estate MLS database to her. Neither of our professions could function without it; then she got the point. Looking at the NPR headquarters was the same sort of thing — thinking about how the people behind all of those radio voices (at the national level) work out of that building.

Look! I think I just saw Nina Totenberg pull up in the driveway! :-)

WOSU Public Media logoThe jester is a member of his local NPR station, WOSU 820AM.

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The text was modified to update a link from http://www.wosu.org/radio/ to http://wosu.org/2012/news/ on November 8th, 2012.

The text was modified to update a link from http://www.wosu.org/radio/ to http://wosu.org/2012/news/ on November 8th, 2012.

(This post was updated on 28-May-2014.)