Case study

White House Situation Room​

Optimizing a historic functional workspace


The Situation Room is a 24/7 meeting place for sensitive information flowing into and out of the White House. Established during the Kennedy Administration, the 5,525-square-foot conference room and intelligence management center in the basement of the West Wing, has undergone periodic architectural and technology upgrades – endeavors challenged by the historic nature of the building.


Over the course of several weeks in 2006, our CTO conducted ethnographic observations of the cognitive work and workflows enabled (and hampered) by the arrangements of functions, roles, and technologies, and supported in-depth interviews of personnel working in the environment.


We provided an in-depth look at the cognitive complexity, software and information requirements, and unique contextual challenges. The findings enabled a gifted team of designers to envision new layouts, furnishings, and constructions to modernize this important workspace.

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