Tasked with bringing spatial variety but conceptual cohesion to the renovation of over 60,000 square feet of the New England headquarters of a global technology company, Merge adapted the tradition of office-as-landscape with a definitively local emphasis.
Informed by the mid 20th century strategy of bürolandschaft – in which the office is analogous to an ecology – as well as contemporary concepts of biophilia and mediated environments, each of the seven floors was understood as a thematic biome. Stacked in section and varying in program, collaborative spaces occupy a gorge, open offices are found amidst a forest, and dining facilities embody a mountain peak (fittingly, the top floor).
Working with and around the building’s elevator core and waffle slab structure, landscape references – from organic circulation paths to abstracted graphics – and natural elements – from raw wood to live plants – were incorporated to actualize and advance the hybrid biological/ technological environments perhaps envisioned by cybernetic theorists and computer scientists.
Key collaborative and connective spaces throughout represent moments of intensive craft. Perforated metal mesh creates constellations over a kitchen counter then spins out to screen casual meeting spaces. Corridors are clad in CNC-cut plywood panels, their leafy fractal patterns revealing the softness of acoustic felt beyond. Solo seats and group nooks, like color-saturated caverns, are subtracted from the solidity of the concrete core. Cross-laminated timber panels are assembled into a stair linking a meeting room mezzanine to a cafe below. At high altitude, in the summit dining space, natural allusions slip into the surreal with a dreamy graphics sequence that melds into cloud-like overhead installations, climbing-cable veiled booths, and a tent-sheltered tea station.
The result is a workplace both cutting edge and comfortable, novel and familiar, productive and social.