Press Releases February 6, 2024

Perkins&Will’s Boston Studio Reveals Its Sustainable New Workplace

A culture-driven design approach results in a uniquely tailored space that reduces global warming potential by 76%.

BOSTON—Perkins&Will welcomed its staff back to the office this New Year to a healthy, environmentally progressive space that promotes a collaborative design culture. The new workplace for the Boston studio of the world’s second largest architecture firm demonstrates how sustainability, resilience, well-being, regeneration, and social equity can be successfully applied to interiors renovations—all while achieving a 76% reduction in global warming potential.

“We set out to disrupt traditional ideas of what an office can be, placing our designers and architects in the unique position of being their own clients,” says Yanel de Angel, managing director of the Boston studio. “Today, our workplace embodies Perkins&Will’s culture of collaboration and experimentation, as well as our Living Design philosophy.”

Flexible areas for socializing and hosting events create community, while abundant display surfaces make it easy to review work. Creativity is on display through a transformable “gallery wall” curated with images, three-dimensional models, and full-scale building fragments; a large model shop showcases craftsmanship. The firm’s commitment to sustainability and material circularity are apparent in the LEED Gold and Fitwel certifications of the space.

"Our new Boston studio is an agile, sustainable workplace that showcases, and impels us to curate, our culture of design exploration and making across scales and typologies."

―Design Director Eric Keune

Designed for the future of work

In the fourth quarter of 2023, CBRE reported that the availability, vacancy, and sublease rates of office space in Boston climbed past all-time highs, with vacancy rates reaching 15.8%. Despite the prevailing trends, Perkins&Will’s Boston studio welcomed its employees back on a hybrid work model and achieved a targeted 70% in-person attendance rate. Instead of reducing square footage or relying on flashy amenities, Perkins&Will identified that employees desired in-person opportunities for connection and collaboration and designed their space accordingly.

The new workplace occupies a full floor in a 1960’s Brutalist tower in the heart of Boston’s Financial District. Layout and allocation are carefully considered; gathering areas of varying size and privacy create a productive in-office experience, and an expanded work café, pin-up surfaces for critiques, and materials library allow for diverse in-person uses. Sit-stand workstations, meeting rooms, and private spaces accommodate a range of work preferences, and communal areas are equipped with audio-visual capabilities for meetings with remote team members.


Noteworthy features include abundant presentation and collaboration areas; open and flexible communal areas for socializing and hosting events; and a thoughtful adaptation of traditional meeting rooms.

“Perkins&Will provides similar design services for our clients who see their office space as a crucial factor in retaining employees and recruiting new talent,” says Interior Design Director Jeannine Campbell. “Just as we take the time to understand our clients, we didn’t make assumptions about our new space. We found that our employees enjoy coming into the office not only for vibrant social gathering places, but for the choice to work in a variety of environments. Everyone is energized to be here.”

Living Design framework in practice

Tenant interior renovations, commonly referred to as “TI” projects, can have a greater carbon impact over a building’s lifespan than the core and shell due to their cyclical nature and high turnover rate. Embodied carbon contributes to a plethora of environmental risk factors, and Boston is especially vulnerable to intense heat waves and destructive coastal flooding. Perkins&Will’s new studio responds to these and other concerns across all phases of the design and construction process, in alignment with Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan to accelerate decarbonization.

“From the reuse of existing furniture to sourcing locally, every choice we made had an impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the space,” says Laura Duenas, the project design lead. “Less obvious things, like choosing engineered hardwood flooring or ensuring all key finishes had Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), led to big reductions in embodied carbon.”

To decrease the need for artificial light, desks are oriented perpendicular to windows resulting in glare and lighting power density reductions of 34% below baseline. All wet areas are outfitted with low-flow fixtures that contribute to a 40% water usage reduction. With a focus on material health, 76% of the finishes in the new studio will contribute to LEED certification. The studio reused 62% of existing furniture and donated the remaining unused furniture to the Furniture Trust, a local non-profit that provides it to schools and other organizations. Respite areas such as a lactation room, wellness room, and all-gender restroom support inclusivity, while wood, warm natural textures, and plants bring a sense of biophilia to the space.

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