From its cutting-edge start-ups to such established players as Oracle, Biogen, Pfizer, and Google, Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a remarkable 21st-century urban environment. The constellation of technology, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies makes this once gritty enclave on the banks of the Charles River one of the most visionary centers in the country. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has long been a driver in the transformation of this former industrial district, recently received approval from the City of Cambridge for its Kendall Square Initiative — six new buildings comprising residential, retail, and research facilities. Kendall Square is now also well on its way to becoming a vibrant, amenity-rich, “zero-commute” neighborhood catering to the thousands of employees, faculty, and students who make it a hub of unparalleled innovation.
Our client, Aimco, engaged us to enhance the functionality of this newly constructed 91-unit luxury apartment property and create an environment that meets the expectations of a highly-educated, entrepreneurial demographic. Drawing on our extensive experience in designing multi-family amenity spaces in urban centers, we orchestrated spaces that demonstrate an appreciation for the digital sophistication of the building’s residents, while fostering a sense of community within the property.
Our strategy — less me space and more we space —is amply expressed in the open area below a small entry lobby. Formatted as a highly flexible, multifunctional space, it is outfitted with plenty of tables (where soloprenuers can hatch the next big thing and collaborators can fine-tune existing projects), a lounge with comfortable seating and large screen monitors, and a bar area with electric fireplace. We also reconfigured adjacent square footage to support a range of amenities, including a fitness center, yoga studio, and dog wash.
Automobile traffic is notoriously dense in Kendall Square and the City of Cambridge is actively invested in minimizing congestion, requiring residential developments to incorporate considerable bicycle storage. Vivo features accommodation for 96 bikes and we underscored the centrality of that amenity by adding a bike “spa” for repairs and tune-ups and had a floor-to-ceiling bike trail map painted in the corridor just outside the bike storage room. Additionally, we equipped the view-rich roof deck with lounge seating, grilling stations, TV, and fire pit – all elements that promote a communal atmosphere.
Enveloped in a sleek, modern aesthetic, incorporating state-of-the-art technology, and offering multifunctional layouts keyed to the day-to-day inter-connectivity that defines the lifestyle of Kendall Square residents, our successful design (the property is 98% leased) marks Vivo as an exemplary response to the housing needs of this exciting Cambridge community.