Setting a New Workplace Standard

Cambridge Savings Bank Operations Center
Waltham, MA

Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB) has enriched its local communities for nearly two centuries, with roots dating back to 1834 in Harvard Square. While still retaining its corporate headquarters in Cambridge, MA, the bank decided to optimize their growing organization by merging three back-office operations sites into a single building. Additionally, the three-story, 76,000 sf office at 81 Wyman Street in Waltham, MA focuses strongly on employee engagement and wellness in the workplace. As a result, the new design earned WELL Platinum status for advancing human health and well-being. 

Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices main entryway.

Adapting the Base

Before CSB decided to occupy the entire building, Wyman Street’s core structure was originally intended to house multiple tenants. SMMA’s design team expertly adjusted the base structure at Wyman Street to establish connectivity and openness throughout the building. Upon entering, employees are greeted by a newly added monumental stair clad in natural wood. The main staircase bridges office space on the upper floors with amenity spaces below. Additionally, atrium floor openings at each level grant access to a large skylight, bringing natural light to the interiors.

Simplified navigation guides employees to a rejuvenated patio off the first floor. 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 existing outdoor space and added in features such as an employee garden, firepit, lighting, and landscaping. Updated façade doors enable direct access to the patio from the building’s cafeteria. On warm New England days, employees can take advantage of the scenic view of the Cambridge Reservoir, situated across from Route 128.

  • Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices main stair and atrium.
  • Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices outdoor patio.
  • Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices main stair and atrium.
Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices main stair and atrium.

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. SMMA's design builds on the base building's pursuit of LEED Silver Certification to meet the new WELL v2 criteria.

The project ultimately was awarded WELL Platinum Certification, the highest level of WELL Certification, and is currently the only one of this level in the state of Massachusetts. The new location meets WELL requirements in all 10 categories and goes above and beyond in Movement, Mind, and Community categories. In accordance with WELL Building Standards, the office also fosters a healthy workplace environment. In addition to the patio, it offers employees ergonomic furniture, a fitness center, studio space, relaxation areas, 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. CSB is committed to maintaining WELL criteria for the foreseeable future, as re-certification occurs every three years.


Engage. Share. Connect.

Breathing life into CSB’s mission statement and values, SMMA’s graphic designers worked closely with their 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 internal focus.

Graphic designers also created a large community engagement wall located on the first floor. The wall welcomes physical interaction from its viewers through written prompts, asking employees to share everything from general wellness tips to personal interests. This tangible information-sharing aims to provide a creative public forum for human connection and celebrates the convergence of CSB’s operations and its relocated staff.

Cambridge Savings Bank corporate offices community wall.

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