Setting a New Workplace Standard

Cambridge Savings Bank Corporate Offices at 81 Wyman Street
Waltham, MA

Established in 1834 in Harvard Square, long-term SMMA client Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB) has enriched its local community for nearly two centuries. While still retaining its corporate headquarters in Cambridge, MA, the bank decided to merge three back-office operations sites into a new 76,000 sf office building at 81 Wyman Street in Waltham, MA. Together with SMMA’s full services, CSB sought to not only optimize its growing organizational structure through additional office space, but to also better support its employees through cultivating a wellness-oriented workplace.
 

Adapting the Base

Before CSB decided to occupy the entire building, Wyman Street’s core structure was originally intended to house multiple tenants. Since the initial program called for a divided office space, this prompted modifications to the base and instituting connectivity and openness. Therefore, SMMA’s teams created additional atrium floor openings all the way down to the first floor to give access to the skylight, bringing natural light to the interiors. Upon entering the building, employees are greeted by a newly added monumental stair clad in natural wood. This main staircase bridges the office space on the upper floors with the amenity spaces below. 

Simplified navigation guides employees to one of these amenities off the first floor: a rejuvenated patio space. The previous patio had been separated from the rest of the building, providing little interaction with the interior environment. SMMA’s landscape designers enlarged the outdoor space and added in features such as an employee garden, firepit, lighting, and landscaping. SMMA collaborated with the base building team to update the façade with doors that enable direct access to the patio from the building’s cafeteria. On warm New England days, employees will be eager to take advantage of the scenic view of the Cambridge Reservoir, situated across from Route 128.

A WELL-Planned Environment

With its employees in mind, CSB asked SMMA about adopting the WELL Building Standard for the new location. The standard combines best practices in design and construction to configure buildings in support of human health and well-being by analyzing 10 categories: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, and Community. The base building, which had already been pursuing LEED Silver, gave the team an advantage towards achieving WELL criteria. While capitalizing on its existing sustainable features, they further improved the conditions of water quality, air quality, thermal quality, and light quality throughout the building.

In accordance with WELL, the office also fosters a healthy workplace. Besides encouraging movement through its attractive monumental stair, it also offers employees ergonomic furniture, a fitness center, studio space, relaxation areas, an outdoor patio, and a cafeteria. The cafeteria, which models its own wellness ecosystem, incorporates healthy food programming, offerings, proper labeling, portion control, and cooking demonstrations through direct consultation with a food service provider. Out of long-term  commitment to its staff, CSB also enhanced  its Human Resources and operational policies to better champion employee needs. They are committed to maintaining WELL criteria for the foreseeable future, as re-certification occurs every three years.

 

This project ultimately pursues WELL Gold.

Engage. Share. Connect.

Breathing life into CSB’s mission statement and values, SMMA’s graphic designers worked closely with the bank's Human Resources and Marketing teams to create a series of unique Environmental Graphics. These graphics unify all three floors through shared themes of nature and wellness; specialized wall segments portray both physical and abstract textures of water, light, and air while also incorporating the bank’s brand colors of blue and green. The color usage serves as a subtle nod to the bank’s customer-facing branches without detracting from its heavy employee focus.

 

To celebrate the convergence of its three back-end operations sites (two in Cambridge, MA and one in Arlington, MA), and to connect its relocated staff, graphic designers created a large community engagement wall located on the first floor. The wall, matching the colors and textures of the other graphics in the building, invites viewers to physically interact with it. Written prompts ask employees about topics ranging from general wellness tips to personal interests and encourages respondents to write and share their answers on designated sections of the wall. This tangible information-sharing aims to provide a forum for connecting the interests and ideation for all employees coming together in a new location – further providing a platform for collaboration and engagement.   

Ara Krafian and the team at SMMA have been long time partners of Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB) – they understand our brand and values and know how to make the culture of CSB come alive through their environmental design. Our respective teams collaborate well – creating a natural rhythm in the way we work together on projects.

Wayne Patenaude

President and CEO of Cambridge Savings Bank