This project consists of two buildings with 380,000 GSF of flexible laboratory and office space; a full city block in Kendall Square. The buildings are connected by a five story glass enclosed atrium that serves as an all-season amenity space to building occupants, neighboring residents and visitors to the future Park. Within the atrium is a monumental red spiral staircase, inspired by the future tenant’s logo. The red, spiraling spool of thread in the logo representing pathways leading scientists to discoveries in medicine encouraged the design team to create the similarly iconic staircase. Due to its dynamic form and bold color, it is a prominent sculptural focal point.
A minimalist approach was critical in designing the details of the staircase, with seamless surfaces and no exposed hardware or fasteners. It was important that the cladding be a continuous, joint-free surface. Krion – a solid surface material by Porcelanosa – was chosen because sheets of the material can be thermoformed into curved pieces and then seamlessly welded together to create one continuous, smooth surface. The monolithic red krion guardrail is formed of two continuous profiles that meet at the guardrails mid-height where a reveal joint accentuates the beveled profile. The bevel enhances the stair’s sculptural appearance when light from the skylight above is cast upon it.
The staircase consists of dark hardwood treads, illuminated by a continuous LED that is concealed within a cove on the inside face of the guardrail. The stainless steel handrail is very minimalist, with fasteners concealed behind the solid surface cladding.
Even though the staircase is dramatically suspended within the vast open space of the atrium, walking on it is comfortable and intimate. It is powerful and highly functional. Appropriately so – the red spiral staircase is a bold gesture, set against the building’s very rational contrasting backdrop.