Project: One Broadway Lobby
Interior Architecture: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Lead Architect: Elizabeth Lowrey, FIIDA, RDI
General Contractor/Construction Manager: John Moriarty & Associates, Inc.
Acoustics: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates Inc
Lighting: HDLC Architectural Lighting Design
Art Consultant – Emily Santangelo, Emily Fine Art Inc
MEP: Vanderweil Engineers
Location: Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Size: 4,500-sf lobby
Photo Credits: © Adrian Wilson
Taking cues from hospitality design, Elkus Manfredi Architects created a warm and welcoming co-working space by introducing a variety of seating options in the Kendall Square office tower lobby.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) pursues long term investment returns for MIT, sustaining the school’s world-class education, cutting-edge research, and groundbreaking innovation. Tenants of the One Broadway office tower, part of MITIMCo’s real estate portfolio, include the Cambridge Innovation Center office and coworking space.
For the past decade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been introducing more vibrancy and diversity to Kendall Square, the most innovative square mile on the planet with an unrivaled density of innovative technology and biotech companies and world-class universities. A key component of this Kendall Square Initiative is to reposition the MIT-owned office tower at One Broadway. Creating a welcoming, co-working destination lobby for tenants and the community was a strategic step toward this vision.
The new lobby is a unique departure from traditional commercial office lobby design in both form and function, providing benefits for tenants as well as the neighborhood. Elkus Manfredi Architects’ knowledge of hospitality design guided the blending of categories to introduce warm and comfortable co-working space with a variety of seating options and work settings while adding a new layer of urban life.
The pre-Covid design concept can be easily adapted to post-pandemic protocols and will continue to serve as a tenant and community amenity as initially envisioned, with even greater emphasis on alternative workspaces within the office destination.
One Broadway Lobby Design Challenges
The client required the single, 4,500-sqft space to serve multiple functions:
- Provide an inviting, comfortable, cohesive, and useful alternative to the work environments in the building’s offices, while also inviting the community into the space.
- Create a secure entry for the office tenants while opening the lobby to the public and maintaining a sense of expansiveness.
- Offer two reception desks: one for a major building tenant, Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), and a separate reception check-in for other tenants.
- Connect seamlessly the lobby and adjoining restaurant at this highly pedestrian-trafficked corner of Kendall Square.
- Offer a variety of seating options for visitors and building tenants that supports both collaborative and solo work along with social connections.
- Eliminate sound reverberation caused by acoustically challenging surfaces including the concrete waffle slab ceiling and concrete floor.
- Incorporate flexibility so the lobby can also accommodate receptions and events.
- Include private meeting space, as well as a ground-floor office, for CIC.
- Create a magnet for the Kendall Square neighborhood – a place to meet, work, or wait – that reflects the neighborhood’s energy.
One Broadway Lobby Design Solutions
The welcoming environment that greets visitors as they enter the lobby at One Broadway comes as a pleasant surprise amid the bustle of “the most innovative square mile on the planet.” Incorporating techniques from hospitality design, the lobby feels warm and welcoming. Tenants and guests can choose from a variety of intimate, collaborative seating options to use for work and meeting clients.
Design highlights include:
The custom-designed reception desk designates two security check-ins while being a single, cohesive design element.
- The lobby forges connections to a ground-floor restaurant via a wall-size, glass garage pivot-door. Designed for flexibility, the doors open to transition the lobby into a lounge-like extension of the restaurant accommodating parties and corporate events.
- Wall treatments, furniture, built-ins, light fixtures, and drapery create definition between the seating and work areas within the large single space—eliminating the need for building additional walls or structures, maintaining the sense of openness.
- Seating options begin at the entry with a wooden banquette that leads visitors to other seating areas behind reception. Located directly behind the translucent curtain backdrop separating the reception desk from the seating behind, a touchdown high-top table with bar stools offers ample space for co-working and computer work.
- Tucked along an inside wall, a glass-doored conference room supports private meetings while allowing light to filter into the room.
- Original works of art enliven the entire lobby. The secure entry to One Broadway’s upper floors is enhanced by a large interactive water tower sculpture by Tom Fruin. Original art by Kysa Johnson, Jeff Perrot, and Liz Roache is featured throughout the space. And a rotating display of digital pieces provides visual interest to the back wall of the elevator lobby.
- Acoustical solutions to the space’s challenging surfaces include colorful bands of acoustic fabric-wrapped wall tiles that provide a welcome focal point for the space, felt wall panels above the banquette, acoustic plaster on the suspended ceilings over the reception desk and acoustic tiles within the waffle ceiling openings, and large area rugs.
- Design touches, such as a handsome red and gray pin-striped wall covering and a light-hearted table lamp in the passageway from underground parking, announce to all that they are entering an intriguing environment.
Like a well-appointed hotel lobby, this newly repositioned office tower lobby is no longer simply a pass-through, it is now a destination gathering space for the neighborhood.