Needham, MA – TFMoran of Bedford, N.H. provided civil/site design, permitting, landscape architecture, and construction administration services for NBC Universal’s new regional headquarters located at the Needham Crossing Business Park in Needham.
The NBCU Boston Media Center is a 171,000sf state-of-the-art facility, housing four local television stations: NBC 10 Boston, NBC Sports Boston, Telemundo Boston, and New England Cable News. This facility represents the largest investment ever made by a media company in the Greater Boston area.
TFMoran civil engineers worked closely with project architect Gensler of Boston and general contractor Lee Kennedy Company of Quincy.
The work involved a thorough renovation of the former General Dynamics industrial complex. Much of the existing shell was demolished, allowing for new exterior courtyard spaces surrounding a stylish new shell with upgraded architectural facades.
Portions of the interior roof structure were removed and replaced with new raised roof structures, creating the greater clearance needed for studio space within the new center.
The new courtyards represent a significant investment in the new facility. TFMoran’s team of landscape architects designed the landscaping for these exterior courtyards, which feature a Main Courtyard and a Café Courtyard for the use of employees and visitors. These courtyards create two distinctly different spaces and feature restorative natural elements.
According to Rob Hoover, TFM’s lead landscape architect, “The primary challenge of courtyard design in this environment is to keep trees and shrubs thriving in the compacted soil of an urban setting. We used a Cornell University-designed structural soils system known as “CU soils” to replace the original concrete foundation under the courtyards. This structural soil resists compression from pedestrian traffic to provide room for plant roots to grow. And to ensure proper nutrient uptake, we installed a smart irrigation system that measures moisture levels and provides precise watering to those roots without excess.”
The purpose of the Main Courtyard, according to Hoover, is to allow employees an immediate respite from the hustle and bustle of work: “Filtered sunlight shines through carefully selected large-caliper trees onto the periphery benches, centered by a firepit, and surrounded by perfectly aligned bluestone pavers. Each bench is tucked in alongside shrubs to reset the olfactory sense, connecting the user to nature and helping them forget they are in the middle of an industrial park.”
Hoover goes on to explain that the smaller Café Courtyard “provides a more intimate experience, and the large honey locust tree at the center helps divide the limited space into small personal areas for the user to feel more comfortable. The sound of water running down a custom water feature drowns out surrounding noise, giving the user relief from their work environment.”