ADD Inc has finished work on new Cambridge, Massachusetts, academic offices for the MIT Skoltech Initiative, which supports MIT’s collaboration in building Russia’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. The 18,500-sq.-ft. sun-filled, open-floor layout features private offices, shared team offices, open work areas, student workspace with breakout and meeting space, a café, and lounges that reconfigure as labs and conference space.
The design had to be respectful of the different cultures represented at MIT Skoltech. “This project challenged ADD Inc to implement design strategies that promote collaboration between groups and represent a common international language without using cultural stereotypes,” stated Lisa Killaby, IIDA, LEED AP, the firm’s principal.
To that end, ADD Inc mixed vibrant colors with traditional textures and patterns to represent common ground between the different groups while integrating objects from various regions and abstract city maps as a nod to the individual cultures.
Flexibility is another hallmark of the design, from the use of gradated film on glass-walled offices and conference rooms to writeable glass surfaces for brainstorming sessions and meeting notes. The flooring provides visual cues for quiet and active areas, while ceiling canopies aim to connect different groups and emphasize shared spaces.