A glass-enclosed fireplace warms the two-story great room where visitors enter the building, and serves as a separation between the entrance and cozy seating that overlooks a wall of windows.
As for amenities, “some wanted more of a quiet place while others were looking for camaraderie,” Mr. Pilot said.
The parent of a soldier told designers that a business station where he could do work would be helpful for families who traveled from out of town, so Mr. Pilot’s team created multiple office spaces.
The center also has classrooms, a game room with eight video game systems and monitors, a music room, arts and crafts room, and game lounge with poker table, snack counter, and indoor simulated driving range. Designers also put in a kitchen large enough for two families to cook their own meals at the same time.
On the opposite end of the building is a respite room, where visitors can go for peace and quiet, and make their way out to the meditation garden.
“We didn’t want to tell them what to do, we wanted to give them an option,” said Cheryl Hall, the chief operating officer of the USO of Metropolitan Washington. “There’s no other place in the country that has all the services available here. This is really about that sense of home.”