What was once a concrete warehouse in East Watertown, MA is now The Linx, a contemporary commercial office complex. The design firm behind the $60 million adaptive reuse architectural marvel was Spagnolo, Gisness & Associates (SGA Arch) of Watertown. For the transformation, the firm used a mix of materials that included aluminum composite materials from Arconic and 3A Composites, and perforated metal panels from Morin, a Kingspan Group Company.
To manage the conversion, the building was split in two and its concrete walls replaced with glass. The new look was intended to appeal to a variety of professional industries, from technology to health insurance.
The 185,000 square foot structure was developed by Boston’s Boylston Properties and sits in an underdeveloped area outside of Kendall Square in Boston. Kendall Square is prime real estate and considered the “gold standard for Boston-area companies seeking office space,” describes the Boston Globe. Developers like Boylston Properties are seeking out underused, underdeveloped areas to invest in to cultivate new commercial interest just out of reach of the Boston/Cambridge area.
John Sullivan of SGA explains the industrial redesign of the Linx, describing the façade as having “depth” due to the wide range of materials it utilizes and the purposefulness of the building’s “light-filled atrium lobby with a café and lounge.”
Garrett Harris, Project Manager at CEI Materials, describes, “The Linx was a chance for CEI to showcase our expertise in large-scale projects. Our team fabricated over 50,000 square feet of metal material. We had an opportunity to fabricate two different manufacturer’s MCMs (metal composite materials) and also Morin’s perforated and corrugated panels. Additionally, we got to showcase our growing interest in modular construction.”
The various single-skinned components were Morin’s C-29 corrugated panel (18,735 sq. ft.) and C-40 perforated panels (5,337 sq. ft.), which were used on the sunshading screen walls integrated into the exterior design. Additionally, the prefabricated/modular structures used Alro’s ¼” wall aluminum tubing.
Jason Sherrill, COO of CEI Materials, explains, “There are numerous benefits to modular construction including shortened lead times, reduced intrusion to existing businesses, less trades to coordinate with the GC and reduced cost. For the Linx, it additionally removed room for human error and also reduced on-site waste. We utilize the modular process often in the automotive market, but it’s becoming more prevalent in the various architectural markets like commercial construction as well.”
With the multitude of metal components used on the project, CEI overcame a variety of challenges related to the design, fabrication and installation. Harris further explains, “We had a C-Shaped panel that ran between the first and second floor that was sandwiched between window heads and window sills. Taking all the variations around the entire building and designing a common panel that would align and fit correctly was a challenge.”
Additionally, vertical fins were designed that ran from the second floor and to the first floor angled sill. Designing their correct angle as it varied around the building required much accuracy.
Lastly, Harris states, “We worked closely with the general contractors at Callahan Inc. and the installers at TR Construction. We were able to overcome any challenges and the resulting building really speaks for itself.”
To learn more about metal composite materials from Arconic, click here.
For more information about metal composite materials from 3A Composites, click here.
To learn more about the metal panel products from Morin, including perforated options,click here.