DPR Boston Revives Old Office Space for New Home
A growing body of work brings with it a growing number of people to do the work. That is the situation DPR’s office in Boston found itself in when it outgrew its small location in Cambridge, MA, in May 2021. While a good problem to have, this meant that leadership in New England had to find a space that could accommodate the rapidly growing local team.
It found that in a sprawling office park on a scenic cliff overlooking the Cambridge Reservoir. Quadruple the size of DPR’s previous space, the new office could easily accommodate the growing number of employees in Boston, but one barrier stood in the way. Originally designed in the 1970s, the office was technologically and architecturally outdated. While structurally sound on the outside, the inside was cramped and closed off—not at all like the open office floor plans favored not only by DPR, but by today’s workers across industries.
There are hundreds of office spaces like this in the Boston area, most of it brought about by technology booms in the 1970s and 1980s. Now a hub for science, healthcare, technology and higher education, Boston is home to some of the most innovative and progressive organizations in the world. With demand for mixed use office space that supports the expansion of Life Science and Technology space high and a significant bank of existing office infrastructure, building trends point to renovating existing office space.
“There are a lot of what I would call late 70s/early 80s buildings that are two- or three-story office buildings that have forced landlords to revamp their properties to keep up with marketplace demands, competition, and market adjustments from the aftermath of COVID.” said Boston business unit leader Patrick Cusson.
“Due to the current real estate markets in the Boston region, DPR found more potential in fitting out our own space within an existing commercial building in lieu of a newly constructed building,” said Eric Kelly, who served as project manager for the renovation. “The new office embodies several of the DPR key characteristics that we strive for. The office is located on the ground floor with a large amount of exterior space, the open office concept and numerous amenities.”
DPR self-performed most of the construction of the 16,000-sq.-ft. renovated space, which will have a combination of permanent and hoteling workspaces. The building has a unique narrow V-shape, with the lobby entrance acting as the joiner. One side will hold the office space and desks, while the other side contains conference rooms and communal gathering space.
Despite removing walls and create an open-office feel, much of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) elements will remain.
But the element that really makes the space special? The view. Situated on a cliff-side overlooking the Cambridge Reservoir, employees can enjoy the scenery from a brand-new outdoor patio with custom-made pergolas, which is perfect for office gatherings or just the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The connection to the outdoors, plus the upgrades to existing infrastructure enables the office to target WELL certification.
Project work began in July 2022, and staff moved in between late 2022 and into early 2023.
This is not the first time DPR has renovated an existing office space to support its growth around the country. The Washington, D.C. office was renovated in 2018 and secured LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum, in addition to pursuing Net Zero Energy certification. In Nashville, DPR applied adaptive re-use to an old Habitat for Human Re-Store to recreate its WELL Platinum office space. Similar work in DPR’s San Diego, Phoenix and San Francisco locations also reinforces what’s possible in “aging” buildings.
One thing DPR practices across many of its spaces is to provide an example for customers of the work it can do and how certain building tactics or components can be applied in different settings, giving DPR the unique opportunity to show customers a real-world example of what their office spaces could look like.
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Posted on May 15, 2023
Last Updated May 23, 2023