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On Architecture: transforming a Cambridge mill into HubSpot's new headquarters

Posted by Your Town  November 19, 2010 09:20 AM

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(Greg Premru Photography)

This project for HubSpot by architecture3s is a transformation of a 38,000 square foot mill building space in Cambridge into a corporate headquarters.

HubSpot is an inbound marketing company that provides marketing software and advice to businesses allowing them to be found on the internet and grow their business. In this case, Hubspot was moving from their bare bones start-up space, to their new office space located in a 38,000 square foot series of interconnected mill buildings on First Street in Cambridge.


HubSpot had three defining issues that were important to them in the development of their new space. First, they did not want to loose their entrepreneurial start-up aesthetic. They felt that would be a turn off for those working in-house and it was important to them to still be seen as a company on the rise because of their great technology and intelligence rather then an “established” company. Second, they wanted to engage and be respectful of the post and beam mill structure aesthetic, yet simultaneously have a contemporary palette of materials that spoke to their avant garde place in the technology industry. Finally, as is the case with most young entrepreneurial clients in the earlier stages of their development, their budget was very limited.

Many inexpensive materials come together in a unique composition that respects the budget, yet yields a spatially rich environment that is not reliant on expensive materials and finishes for its success. Strategically and judiciously using more expensive materials such as floor to ceiling glazing and offsetting those costs with simple painted drywall, laminate surfaces and inexpensive linear strip fluorescent fixtures backlighting a cellular plastic panel dropped into an ordinary suspended ceiling grid, creates a signature aesthetic. Iconically introducing the clients branding logo and colors into the design tailors the space.

The misalignment of the floors from mill building to mill building was seized as an opportunity to design in enhanced thresholds that informed the user that they were moving form one building to another. Realized as simple painted drywall tubes, these thresholds establish a sense of place within the design and work to celebrate the circulation through the spaces.

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Materials such as translucent curtains and birch stalks are used to soften the space in juxtaposition to the more minimal and machined surfaces. The curtains provide an enhanced acoustic quality at the lobby that also serves as a break out area for the adjacent multi-purpose room and conference rooms. The curtains also capture light differently then other surfaces and provide a detail that is unexpected and are a simple, inexpensive device to allow the user to fine tune the space to allow views into conference room spaces or make them more private. Birch stalks are used are used similarly and provide a contrast that is warm, unique and beautiful to walk by or form an edge at impromptu meeting locations off the circulation.

architecture3s is an interdisciplinary Boston-based design firm founded by architects Vincenzo Giambertone and Todd Terranova.

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