By Dan Perruzzi
The suburbs have seen an uptick in repositioned office buildings, as the urban office market continues to tighten and rents increase. Developers and landlords are taking the opportunity to refresh older office buildings in the suburbs and provide tenants with the amenities they need to attract new talent. New live/work/play developments are critical to luring companies — and their employees —into the suburbs, and the mixed-use developments with transportation options will do even better.
University Station in Westwood, Mass., is a vibrant example of this new live/work/play destination, so it made perfect sense for National Development to reposition and renovate the nearby 101 Station Drive office building. National Development engaged Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA) to develop a comprehensive strategy for improvements to the three-floor, 208,000sf office building to meet the demands of today’s office tenants. After significant exterior and interior updates, 101 Station Drive has emerged as an upscale office building with urban amenities, attracting new tenants and raising its profile in the marketplace.
One such tenant, The Predictive Index (PI), engaged MPA to design the interior fit-out of its new corporate headquarters at 101 Station. Taking advantage of the flexible open floor plates of the building, the modern and collaborative open concept office space occupies 21,000sf, nearly doubling the size of its previous location in Wellesley Hills. PI is a fast-growing firm that added more than 30 employees in 2015 and expects to hire a dozen more in 2016. The firm needed a new office expressive of its brand and culture to help it attract and retain talent as well as flexible space to accommodate further expected growth.
Working closely on the interior design led by Lannhi Tran of Little Dragon Decor, MPA created PI’s new headquarters to be reflective of the company’s commitment to employee engagement, collaboration, and teamwork and delivers on the company’s core values and recent rebrand. The new headquarters includes open area and collaborative workspaces, massive expanses of whiteboard and glass brainstorming walls, and multiple gathering areas. A large percentage of the walls are demountable, providing more glass and writable surfaces than would be available with a traditional stick-built environment. The demountable wall system also allows for more flexible expansion options for the fast-growing firm. Huddle spaces in the café offer flexible meeting spots. Convertible desks move from a seated to standing position. The firm’s signature red brand color is splashed throughout the offices.
The office space features polished concrete floors that take the place of carpet, allowing employees to get around the office on scooters and skateboards. Ping-Pong and shuffleboard make for nice mini-breaks in the work day. Fun lighting, bean bags, and rocking buoy chairs are scattered throughout to encourage unconventional thinking. Whiteboard surfaces cover most walls and tables, allowing work to get done everywhere. “The new office space truly captures the essence of our brand and really does foster high employee engagement and teamwork,” noted PI’s CEO Mike Zani. “There’s an energy and a buzz in the new space that’s got everyone pumped to be part of PI.”
The location and amenities of 101 Station Drive were major factors in PI’s decision to relocate to University Station. With gorgeous views of the nearby Blue Hills Reservation, PI’s energized, light-filled space achieves both workday enjoyment and high productivity.
Dan Perruzzi, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal and senior partner at Margulies Perruzzi Architects.