Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund


National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)

Bethesda, Maryland

72,000 GSF, 6,690 M2

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Programming

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Silver

Award of Merit, Bronze Award -- Healthcare, Citation for Institutional Architecture

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“This is a place of hope and healing. It's a place of inspiration.”

—Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, Director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury


Designed to advance the research, diagnosis, and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological issues, the completion of the NICoE was an urgent matter, especially for members of the armed services returning from duty suffering from what has become the “signature wound of war." SmithGroupJJR responded to this urgency by planning, designing and building the NICoE in just 22 months.

The design team worked with clinicians and researchers to develop a program and operational concept supportive of an entirely new model of care. Merging evidence-based design with neurological studies, every element of the building is attuned to the special sensory and wayfinding needs of TBI patients. Patient interaction with the environment drove every design decision, from lighting and acoustics to privacy and safety.

The winding form of the exterior is echoed in the lobby, where a curvilinear wood structure—housing a chapel, auditorium and therapy space—dominates the architecture. Although this world-class facility contains the most advanced technologies, the result is a warm, holistic space that communicates healing and hope.

Related Content

About the NICoE
Visit the NICoE's website to learn more about the extraordinary work they are doing here.

Center Heals Soldiers' Invisible Wounds
Soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury have hope for state-of-the-art treatment.

Putting Something Good In Something Bad
The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band performs with Yo-Yo Ma at the NICoE.