One Post Office Square Revitalization
Boston is a city of history and heritage. Traditional brick and stone facades may be fine to keep many iconic national landmarks functioning, but in today’s world, continual improvements for more modern buildings is sometimes required due to enhance convenience, aesthetics, and efficiency. A great example of this is One Post Office Square in Boston, MA. Last updated in the 1970s, One Post Office Square lacked the visual presence and amenities at the street level to satisfy the needs of modern Class A office tenants. One Post Office Square is a 40-floor, punched opening-style skyscraper in the Financial District section of Boston, Massachusetts. The skyscraper is Boston’s 11th-tallest building, standing 525 feet (160 m) tall. The building has approximately 766,000 square feet of Class “A” office space. An attached, eight-level parking garage offers 368 parking spaces and direct access to the building’s lobby. It overlooks Post Office Square Park and was originally designed by Jung Brannen Associates.
Equity Office Properties sought to reposition the building and transform the address into a revitalized commercial property. The design proposed a new and enlarged public lobby with a fresh, open feel. The building boasts spectacular views of the City of Boston including the Boston Harbor to the east and the Charles River to the west.
A design team led by Boston-based CBT Architects that included structural engineers LeMessurier Consultants, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, worked with Equity Office Properties on a strategy aimed at elevating the properties into positions of greater value in the market. The transformation work was concentrated at the street level because changes there have the ability to dramatically alter the perception of an older property; this lobby was designed to make a big impression with an expansive transparent, glassy entrance.
A considerable challenge existed at the One Post Office Square lobby in that the Langham Hotel is adjacent to the building and its guests’ 24-hour needs and comfort had to be considered along with the buildings’ tenants. During construction, a wall separating the lobby from the Hotel was erected to greatly reduce dust and noise. Regular communication between the owners and the Hotel kept the team informed of any guest complaints related to the construction. The most disruptive work was scheduled during times when the Hotel was not expecting heavy occupancy.
Working with Karas & Karas Glass, the W&W Glass team was tasked to engineer an enclosure to extend the lobby to the edge of the actual structure while wrapping it in a three-story Pilkington Planar™ glass wall system therefore enlarging the space by 50%. The installation used Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating glass units with HP 67/34 on the #2 surface for the vertical side walls to assist with mechanical system loads, while Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron monolithic face glass was used on the main wall with a dramatic fly-by edge picture-framing the sides and top. The glass fins called for 3/4″ low-iron monolithic glass. Traditional Pilkington Planar™ 905 countersunk fittings were used for the majority of the mounting hardware. Since the goal was to both physically and psychologically expand the space, it meant visitors would be surrounded by glass even at the entries. Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron laminated glass formed horizontal transfer beams above all the entrances to transfer the load of the suspended fins above the doors. This required thin stainless steel cable hangers to stabilize and secure the transfer beams coupled with custom, ultra-thin stainless steel plate beam portal frames tucked exquisitely behind the beams. At the top, the roof glass return was made of clear insulating SGP interlayer laminated glass with K Low-e on #3 surface mounted with 905 fittings to the outriggers where the fins were hung from.
When visitors travel inside the glass enclosure they view a white-on-white palette background designed for the seasonal color tones of the square. The main wall features Italian Statuario marble in a pattern that represents the Apennines Mountains where it was quarried. Soft white Capavola marble flooring and white glass columns with steel accents complete the design.
Elevator lobbies were also redesigned with a rich, dark fumed oak with white glass and stainless accent details. The elevator cabs themselves create an ethereal feeling with walls and ceiling made from illuminated glass. Since the lobby transformation, One Post Office Square continues to be a crown jewel within this urban center.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.