After moving to the outskirts of the city sixty years ago, the Boston Globe has returned to its downtown roots, just steps away from its original office on Boston’s “Newspaper Row.” The move marks a major shift in the mindset of traditional print media companies as they adjust to the digital age.
That focus on the future was a key driver of the Globe’s change. To keep up with modern expectations and attract the best staff, the Globe re-envisioned the workplace, creating a more flexible, transparent space that better matches how their staff was already working. The new, LEED Platinum office complex features fewer offices, bench-style work stations, a central staircase and an abundance of private and open meeting areas that have made collaboration and teamwork easier than ever.
The big, open staircase was critical in facilitating those employee interactions. However, the stairs are located in an older section of the building built primarily of terra cotta, which would not be able to hold up under the weight of the staircase. The team worked with the engineering and design teams to come up with a solution. They built an independent platform at the bottom of the staircase to create the necessary support.
Technology also got a serious boost in the new space. Employees have access to “IT TV” in which a desk can have one monitor tuned to television stations and the other to the computer network. TVs also hang from the ceilings throughout the work areas—for both cultural and practical reasons.
The nature of the 24-hour news cycle did require some special accommodations. For instance, the building typically throttles back the heating and air conditioning overnight while the offices are vacant. Structure Tone built a separate chiller plant just for the Globe and connect it to the existing ductwork and building infrastructure to maintain a comfortable temperature 24/7.
The Globe included unique design elements to ensure the history of the publication in Boston was infused in their new space. Boston Globe photography lines the walls and serves as privacy glazing on glass conference room doors and walls. Artifacts and historic newspaper covers are on display throughout the office, including an original Linotype machine used to set the Globe’s type from 1894 to 1976. The project team also worked to design and build a glass rail system to bring the staircase that leads from the main building lobby to the Globe’s second-floor, dating back to 1896, up to code as part of the fit-out.
When all was said and done, the move from old to new went smoothly. Originally facing setbacks that would move the project past its target move in date, the Structure Tone team was able to adjust the schedule so people could start moving in as planned.