IA Interior Architects: Winner of World Design Awards 2020. IA has created numerous global offices for Rapid7, a leading provider of analytics and automation solutions for security and IT professionals. Most recently, IA unveiled the tech company’s 150,000-square-foot Boston headquarters, comprising four floors of a brand-new development block flanking TD Garden in the North Station neighborhood.
A topmost concern for the client was creating a connected workplace that would foster mobility and interaction among staffers, previously dispersed between two downtown locations. To address this need, IA designed a robust amenities program including specialized conferencing, a speakeasy, and a user-experience lab to bring employees together, as well as a central atrium that extends the full height of the space and doubles as a social hub. From the moment your step into the reception area, located at the atrium’s base, you feel connected to Rapid7’s culture and the daily thrum of activity visible on all four floors—even in the glass-walled conference rooms demarcated by thick black frames. The atrium serves as a visual connector and vertical conduit: Rising from its base is a bleacher-style stair that functions as a site for town hall meetings, abetted by audio-visual elements.
Integral to the design concept is the word audacious, which is both a Rapid7 core value and a term that embodies Boston itself. The team determined that what makes the city audacious—defined as bold, unexpected, and immersive—are four distinguishing attributes: its organic neighborhoods and its status as a sports hub, a knowledge center, and a locus of technology. Each floor of the headquarters takes one of those pillars as its theme, brought to life through amenities, regional connections, graphics, signage, and wayfinding technologies, as well as the choice of what departments are located there.
For instance, the theme of floor four (housing reception, the café, and an amphitheater) is “neighborhood,” inspired by Faneuil Hall and other local marketplaces. Level five, meanwhile, is the “sports” floor, exhibiting key characteristics of passion, grit, liveliness, and competitiveness; appropriately, it’s home to the sales department and a gaming space. One flight up is the “tech” floor, devoted to IT and marketing, with a genius bar and design details conveying a sense of fearless innovation. “Education,” a nod to Boston’s renowned research and academic entities, unifies the seventh (and topmost) floor, where the engineers work. Upholding the quirky-focused vibe, it offers a library that converts to a speakeasy at night.
Each department is assigned to a specific neighborhood and given the tools to work in whatever manner best suits them. Sales team members, for example, have an active and variable methodology, so their space is positioned to encourage spirited collaboration, and is separated from other departments that typically conduct more heads-down work. All floors support both focus and teamwork courtesy of alternative work settings, a range of workstation types, as well as large-scale meeting areas with views of TD Garden’s highly activated Champions Way.
The experiential graphic design strategy riffs on Rapid7’s core values while complementing regional connections and materiality. Elevator lobby murals feature a cluster of moose comingling with local and floor-themed icons. Inside the elevators, a digital map provides wayfinding and a clear statement of the floor’s theme. Also on-theme is a hand-painted portrait of an inspiring luminary in each floor’s conference room: Mohammad Ali vivifies sports, Katherine Johnson symbolizes innovation, and Freddie Mercury stands for creativity.
Rapid7’s new space meets—indeed, surpasses—the client’s goals: to physically manifest its corporate culture, to prioritize alternative work settings, and to reflect innovation and core values. Collaboration metrics, for instance, have doubled. And the “audacious” concept can scale across locations while providing local autonomy: Rapid7 offices in other cities can channel and connect to what is audacious about their own context—specific to their site and location yet firmly anchored in and reflective of the company’s dynamic culture and global guidelines.
Firm: IA Interior Architects
Architect: IA Interior Architects
Category: Design Built
Project Location: Boston
Team: Reetika Vijay, Sarah Brophy, Paul Comeau, James Yi , Jess Leong , Emily Sano , Jess Porter, Danielle Dickerman
Country: United States
Photography ©Credit: IA Interior Architects
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We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, & our communities.