Case Studies

Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc.

Creating workplaces that connect people in Boston's most iconic buildings

Since 1980, Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc. (BH+A) has been a Boston-based leader in the design of workplaces, housing, recreation, historic facilities and museums. The firm’s 52 professional staff members work in teams – effectively studios – in each of these markets. Sustainable design has always been critical to and a part of every BH+A project, whether LEED certified or not.

Technology plays an important role in the firm’s success. In 2008, BH+A converted its design operations 100 percent to Revit, a BIM 3-D drawing platform. Despite the challenges of investing in this upgrade in a recession, the benefits have been immediate and significant.

In the design phase, BH+A and its consultants coordinate and collaborate, effectively resolving conflicting “clashes” before construction. This platform also provides a facile tool for the architects to create 3-D renderings so that the client can clearly see the design intent before important decisions are made.

In short, Revit is the key to collaboration between BH+A and its clients, as well as consulting firms. It also lends to early resolution of construction conflicts with the project’s general contractor and subcontractors.

The firm is a Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and is directed by cofounders Carolyn Hendrie, AIA and Joel Bargmann, AIA, along with principals Thomas Scarlata, AIA and Dan Chen, AIA.

Bargmann and Hendrie, who were classmates in the master of architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania, married and launched BH+A after relocating from New York to Boston in 1980.

BH+A’s work is characterized by innovative, sustainable, cost-effective design, which has been recognized by more than 50 national and regional awards and publications. Additionally, BH+A has completed projects in Singapore, Paris, London, Dublin for their New England-based commercial clients.

Currently in design are new Boston headquarters for Goodwin Procter LLP, consisting of 12 floors; Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP with seven floors; Natixis Global Asset Management, consisting of five floors, as well as the 10-floor Converse headquarters across from TD Garden in Boston. Recently completed are nine floors for the headquarters of Bain Capital; Hasbro Place in Providence, with six floors; and Battery Ventures, TA Associates, IR+M and others. 

Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc.

Feature project

One of the highlights of BH+A’s most recent work is with a Boston-based investment firm office space designed by Carolyn Hendrie and the BH+A Workplace team.

BH+A has been working with the client since 2005. Phase two includes a full floor expansion and was completed in 2013 and doubles the area, roughly to 60,000 square feet.

The project provides a 45-seat trading floor, offices, workstations, video conference rooms, meeting rooms, cafes, a fitness room with showers, a data center as well as support copy rooms and storage. The BH+A team also gutted and redesigned the eight restrooms. Despite the eight-year interim between construction phases, the project phasing is seamless.

The project centers around a two-story space with a curved marble stair. Hendrie and her team removed about 15 feet of a base building girder and designed new structural columns at the perimeter to take the relocated load in order to create two bays for this centerpiece stair. The client wanted to create an environment where employees would be drawn to travel between floors using the new stair, see each other many times every day and continually find opportunities to interact and to collaborate.

The client deliberately chose to distribute various amenities and destinations among the two floors so that everyone has a reason to move around the space and up and down the new stair. “Beyond the work environments the space also includes unusual amenities such as a Zen garden and a gym with a yoga/spinning room,” notes Hendrie. “There are several less visible but inviting destinations located far from each other, but near the stair, such as a lounge and a small club room for deal celebrations.”

Extensive use of glass in every enclosed space allows everyone to see everyone else and these visual connections animate movement through the space. The upper floor has a second floor opening, a 10-foot-long opening, offering a glimpse into the trading floor below. Fondly dubbed “Stewie” for its resemblance to the almond-shaped cartoon character, Stewie provides an unusual visual connection between two remote parts of a single organization.

The signature piece is the curved marble stair. Visible from reception on the lower floor as well as from many points on the upper floor, this is truly the geographical center. Its lacquered stringers made of high-density foam were formed in several pieces, brought on-site and installed by the millworker.

The office and conference room walls, the workstations, the conference tables, the office furniture and the trading desks as well as the curved, lacquered stair stringers are all millwork, by Mark Richey Woodworking. The “feature wood veneer” is quartered, figured anigre with maple trim and top caps.

In addition to the beauty of these materials and the extraordinary workmanship, the solution creates an egalitarian workplace where everyone’s office has the same materials but is different to respond to each type of position. The reception desk, the executive assistants and the workstations for information technology, finance, human resources and facilities are the same materials as the trading desks, the private offices and the board room.

The 2012 expansion floor was constructed by Structure Tone Inc. and the original 2005 floor by Shawmut Design & Construction. The phasing is not obvious and the quality of the construction is extremely high. Notable suppliers and subcontractors include: Cumar, a marble supplier, stone installation by JAJ, wood floors by Becht, fabric panels by ML MacDonald and drywall by New England Finish.

BH+A consultants include: Le Messurier, structural engineering firm; RG Vanderweil MEPFP, involved in phase two; RDK in phase one; Acentech, acoustical engineering firm; Crabtree McGrath, food service; Atelier 10 involved in lighting design of phase two; and Sladden Feinstein phase one, and project managers Fort Point Project Management, phase two and Trammell Crow, phase one.

Despite the confidentiality of this project and other recent BH+A work, their success has opened new doors for the firm throughout Boston and beyond. After 35 years in business, Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc. continues to stand out as a leader in sustainable, synergy-focused design whether it be corporate headquarters, micro-lofts, athletic facilities, boutique hotels or historic renovations.

Published on: July 15, 2015

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