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Landlords Engage Dyer Brown to Reposition Properties

16 January 2015

As the Boston economy continues to heat up and there is a continued shift in focus in the local economy from old-school money management and banking to young entrepreneurial driven start-ups and "new" money funded tech companies, landlords are all trying to position their buildings to attract these new economy companies while not alienating the old guard. As we all know, a first impression can be a lasting one so the building lobby is ground-zero for commercial buildings when it comes to making a first impression to a prospective tenant. Dyer Brown Architects has been instrumental in helping many of these landlords revive their outdated lobbies to help attract the new tenants in the market for office space.

While this transformation is happening everywhere, nowhere is it more evident than it is in the last bastion of old-money Boston, the Financial District. Neo-classical (of any era) lobbies, entry canopies, elevator cabs, and corridors are being retrofitted to tell the inhabitants that while they respect the past and tradition, landlords are welcoming the future. Lobbies once adorned with brass chandeliers and worn leather furniture perched on antique (read tattered) oriental rugs are being outfitted with "tech-walls", coffee bars, and contemporary lighting. Elevator cabs with worn wood panel walls and outdated controls are being upgraded to include backlit ceilings with cutting edge systems. Corridors once encircled with chair rails and carpet borders are finding a new identity with clean palettes and simple lines. While this may seem to be a dramatic shift, at Dyer Brown Architects we have found that the traditional bones of many of these spaces can marry seamlessly with a touch of tech or an infusion of innovation.

Working with Equity Office, Dyer Brown has carefully transformed the lobby of 100 Summer Street to reflect the lightness and playfulness that is attractive to the millennial CEO. Gone is the gridded floor of dark orange and yellow stone and in its place is a honed white marble laid in fractal shards based on the lobby's paths of circulation and alluding to the connectedness of all of us in a digital world. Power equipped lounge furniture and a media wall invite office personnel to stay a while and work or host a quick informal meeting.

While not located in the Financial District, the lobbies of One/101 Main Street in Cambridge's Kendall Square were as old school as they come. Their brick floors and massive granite control-center-sized security desks were cold and unwelcoming to the sensibilities of today's technology companies. By re-casting security as reception and taking cues from hospitality, Dyer Brown and RREEF transformed these spaces into lobbies that are comfortable to all generations.

545 Boylston's small lobby was in desperate need of a refresh. Working with Clarion Partners, our Dyer Brown design team was able to transform this lobby from a bland palette of beige granite and brass to an eye-catching boutique lobby with vivid street presence directly across from Copley Square. The wow factor of this lobby belies the construction budget and is a true testament that with a talented team, great design can be achieved on any budget.

Post authored by Brent D. Zeigler AIA IIDA, Principal, President/Director of Design at Dyer Brown Architects in Boston.

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