Located in a former Army storehouse in South Boston, the shell of this new meeting and event center is defined by deep floor plates and a muscular column grid. The architect's goal was to complement this robust canvas with a design that emphasized lightness, precision, and material innovation.
The plan centers around the “Crystal Core” of meeting rooms, maintaining visual connectivity through the space and allowing natural light to permeate the plan. The Crystal Core nests around an existing atrium, offering views down to Autodesk’s buzzing incubator workshop below, refracting and reflecting its energy and activity throughout the space. The core is surrounded by a band of flexible spaces including the “Thinking Studio”, “Exhibition Lounge”, “Kiva”, and workspace studio that can connect and re-configure to accommodate the wide variety of events the client hosts daily. A series of meeting rooms serving the workspace is tucked along the party wall.
Autodesk challenged the design team to test the limits of cross-industry coordination utilizing emerging BIM software and CNC metal stud manufacturing with a Howick machine to custom panelize the partitions. Inspired by the client’s focus on innovation in the building industry, the major programmatic zones are designated by distinct custom ceilings. Expanded aluminum mesh, foamed aluminum, illuminated translucent fabric, PET felt baffles, and an expansive-yet-slender pill-shaped light are all used to define space, organize systems, control acoustics, and explore material and tectonic relationships.
As a rapidly transforming technology company this public-facing expansion project is key to the client’s collaborative mission, and the design helps manifest this mission in the architecture itself.