Elkus Manfredi Architects recently completed the new Samuels & Associates Headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. With retail establishments on the ground floor and Samuels & Associates' corporate offices on the two upper floors, the building's redesign exemplifies urban adaptive re-use that seeks to save and find new uses for an existing building, rather than tearing it down, reflecting the same approach Samuels & Associates takes in many of its projects. The building at 136 Brookline Avenue was built to contain the heavy machinery and vehicles of an auto service and repair business, so its sound structure made it a good candidate for a new use.
The second floor features a central reception area surrounded by glass-fronted conference rooms. Behind the reception desk, glass doors open to a rooftop deck that serves as an open-air entertainment and employee relaxation area. At the second-floor entry opposite the elevator doors, a collection of historic machining tools evoke the building's industrial history.
The existing footprint of the building's second and third floors was divided into public and private workspaces, with new walls creating a reception area and conference center on the second floor and offices plus a communal kitchen on the third floor. Red brick walls were painted white; ceilings retained their original raw concrete and were sandblasted to remove dirt and old paint. The original concrete floors were stained and polished.
Third-floor office space encompasses cubicles surrounded by glass-fronted offices. The third-floor communal kitchen/breakroom is anchored by a long wall of clerestory windows that introduce natural light and views.
The design reflects the unique personality of company founder and president Steve Samuels, a third-generation real estate developer, whose interests and activities outside the company include film production and music. The hall leading to Steve Samuels' office celebrates his music passion and film-production career with framed movie posters and a collection of antique microphones.
Photography: Eric Laignel