Evolve 17 - CODAworx

Evolve 17

Submitted by Gensler

Client: Leidos

Location: Reston, VA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team


Davis McCarty

Davis McCarty


James Bagby


Design Director

John McKinney


Interior Designer

Carol Schneider



Sumita Arora


Project Manager

Evan Rosner


Interior Designer

Foster Kutner



Understanding this firm and its new global headquarters in Reston, Virginia starts with the name. Leidos, clipped from the word kaleidoscope, is a 50-year-old company that recently rebranded. The kaleidoscope, an optical instrument that creates symmetrical irregular shapes, served as the planning strategy to bring order and beauty to a rectilinear building. Beyond the angled shapes, Leidos’ distinctive key colors of violet and ultraviolet are embedded in the architecture. Dichroic glass, invented by one of their clients, NASA, becomes a tool to integrate their secondary colors. The design captures each of Leidos’ five brand values – visionary, smart, approachable, authentic, and pragmatic – and gives them architectural identities.


Evolve 17 symbolizes a visionary meeting point to promote a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship. It is designed to metaphorically unite solutions from different angles. It decorates the executive atrium for the Leidos Headquarters.

Evolve 17 is a cosmic kaleidoscope that changes colors as viewers walk by. At dawn, visitors are welcomed in with playful colored shadows that move throughout the day. Evolve is gracefully suspended by aircraft cable, and uses NASA developed dichroic Plexiglas to create a space age feel.

With the triangular polygon as the base shape for both the virtual projection of objects in digital space and the real manifestation of this sculpture, EVOLVE is both a metaphorical and physical bridge between the virtual webs that connect Leido’s to the rest of the world and the physical impact that those webs have in everyday life.


Leidos sees itself as a visionary company, and wanted the space's first impression to speak to this overarching idea. The design firm solicited an art competition to find an artist that could bring the visionary brand value to life. Artist Davis McCarty created a literal kaleidoscope, made of dichroic triangles, that inspires Leidos' staff to think abstractly every day, and allows guests to look up and see themselves a part of the Leidos brand. Architecturally, the brand's emphasis on being both pragmatic and visionary is captured through a stair connecting the two-story conference center through a three-dimensional experience.

The dichroic plexiglass, like a quantum particle, can simultaneously exhibit different colors to viewers from different angles. When the observer circles the sculpture the dichroic panels morph between states of colors. The sculpture uses a patent pending hinge made from 5mm water jet aerospace grade aluminum. "The Signal Bracket" offers 330' of rotation and locks in place at the desired angle.