A new anchor of downtown Boston’s innovation economy

With a desire to reinvigorate the downtown core and attract a new class of tenants and visitors, the design of Congress Square re-brands the block, creating 24/7, pedestrian-friendly activities with a mix of residential, multi-level retail, offices, and a boutique hotel. Knitting these uses together is Quaker Lane, an active pedestrian plaza that provides a vibrant exterior public space where office tenants can work outside, sit at the hotel bar, or grab a coffee.

As the anchor to the Congress Square Development, 40 Water Street transformed an existing class B office building into an amenity-laden and visually stunning focal point for Post Office Square in downtown Boston. With an eye towards the future of office space, impressive historical details were juxtaposed with new, modern design elements, including an updated lobby, centralized elevator core, and exterior roof deck. The result is a rich, multi-layered interior environment ideal for co-working tenants. Existing floor-to-ceiling steel trusses were exposed on the second floor, providing a natural way to delineate smaller, unique co-working spaces while highlighting the structure’s historic character. Exterior roof decks on levels 5, 10, and 17 invite tenants to extend their work to the outdoors, where technology has been fully integrated, and each space provides its own unique character and view of Boston. The main lobby boasts a beautifully restored ornamental coffered ceiling and full-height windows providing ample natural light and a connection to the active street-level. Employees and the public alike are encouraged to take advantage of the fully equipped lobby. With wifi, retail, and restaurant spaces, it provides a vibrant alternative that acts as an extension of the co-working space above.

Prominent features of the design include a new elevator core being built in a former light well enabling a more open floor plate with expansive sightlines, a dynamic custom curtainwall addition atop 40 Water Street offering seven additional floors of office and amenity space, and a custom-designed, sculptural FRP soffit designed to provide the addition with a unique depth and texture as it floats above the existing cornice line. These new features carefully integrate with the existing cityscape, preserving the historic quality of the original buildings’ classic architecture.

By merging a dynamic exterior architecture with high quality, flexible interior spaces, the final result is an office building that now enjoys the look, feel, and technical requirements of today’s innovation economy and co-working culture – all while presenting a new vision for the future of the city.

Architectural Plans / Process