Industrial Chic

89 A Street | Founders Park
Needham, Massachusetts

Located in Needham, MA, Founders Park is a burgeoning mixed-use development park situated along Boston’s technology corridor and busiest motorway. When Normandy Real Estate Partners purchased the Park's building at 89 A Street, their ambitions were grand. The building at 89 A Street had previously been home to a manufacturer, who required a space that was functional and provided a sense of confidentiality and privacy. Normandy engaged with our team to enhance the campus and renovate the building to attract a tenant that was modern, innovative, on track to expand, to anchor the building, and reposition the space to foster future development. They found a match in SharkNinja, a company that specializes in the development of innovative housewares. 

SMMA Site Plan for 77A

SMMA worked with both clients to determine how to revitalize the previously nondescript, two-story office building. The primary focus was on maximizing economic value for the developer client and fulfilling practical requirements and aesthetic aspirations for their corporate tenant. The team focused on increasing daylight throughout the space and enhancing user experience through the incorporation of green space and a new cohesive visual identity. 

Let There Be Light

One of the most significant challenges was figuring out how to increase daylight throughout the space. The existing facility was large enough to fit three football-fields and had limited access to natural light. To address this, the team started with the roof, incorporating several raised skylights that would allow sunlight into those areas of the building without proximity to windows. 

89 A Street Founders Park, rooftop renovation by SMMA
  • Sketch of Green Space Opportunities at 89 A Street Founders Park | SMMA Landscape Design
  • Garden site planning at 89 A Street Founders Park | SMMA Landscape Design
  • SMMA Landscape Design at 89 A Street Founders Park

Bringing the Outside In

The renovation also included the development of a courtyard and an outdoor patio to provide employees with a place of respite, where they can connect with the outdoor environment. Our site designers sought to provide soft landscapes, favoring the ephemeral qualities of spring plantings to the permanence of evergreens. The courtyards also feature Asian-inspired rock gardens and incorporate elements of feng shui, a Chinese philosophy that promotes harmony with one’s surroundings.

Lobby at 89 A Street Founders Park | Design by SMMA

A Hub of Activity

The design included cutting into the envelope of the building to deliver a two-story-high south lobby, that receives abundant sunlight. The lobby was designed to be the centerpiece of the building, functioning as a space for gathering and relaxation. It serves as the focal point of the facility, including a newly designed café and patio space, a grand expression that defines 89 A Street.

Materially Rich

The client gravitated toward rich materials that had a certain roughness and life to them, an “industrial chic” aesthetic, giving the development a distinctive character.

For the exterior, the design incorporated a coppery, steel-like cladding, with randomly interspersed perforated panels between solid ones, giving the building a new visual identity. The perforations in the cladding also provided another opportunity for natural light to penetrate the space.

The interior of the south lobby juxtaposes raw and finished materials, featuring a staircase that makes use of reclaimed barn wood pillars, as well as mesh metal paneling and LED Edison-bulb lighting on the ceiling. The use of pops of color throughout the space help to further convey a sense of warmth throughout the space.

89 A Street Founders Park | Exterior design by SMMA

SMMA’s interventions at 89 A Street have resulted in a LEED-certified facility that positions Founders Park as a new, attractive destination for Greater Boston’s always-expanding corporate sector.