Akamai Technologies, a global content delivery network (CDN) provider, is bringing its six separate office buildings together in one location at a new 476,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown Cambridge. The building consists of office spaces, common spaces, conference areas and kitchen-café areas.
WSP USA provided mechanical-electrical-plumbing and fire protection engineering and design services for the new office building. The $95 million building opened in December.
The headquarters includes Akamai’s Network Operations Command Center (NOCC), providing staff with an industry-leading view of the real-time condition of the Internet; Broadcast Operations Command Center (BOCC), to better support their over-the-top (OTT) video delivery to customers; and Security Operations Command Center (SOCC), which provides them with optimum resources to monitor global network conditions.
WSP worked on behalf of the architect, Sasaki Associates. The building is owned by Boston Properties. Design work for the building began in March 2016.
“The construction phase for the base building and fit-up project ran concurrent with the two project teams working together to meet the project goals and schedules,” said Paul Catanzaro, WSP project manager.
The signature feature of the new headquarters is “The Akamile,” a mile-long walking pathway that seamlessly connects collaborative spaces through all 19 floors of the building.
“The pathway functions as a link between different Akamai groups working within the building,” Catanzaro said. “The path interconnects floors for employees to sense a connection to other floors of the building, plus high open ceilings.”
Beginning in the building lobby, The Akamile arranges many Akamai customer service programs around the first few client reception floors, taking the visitor along a journey of exploration and education, highlighting services Akamai offers, and telling the story of how the company became a tech industry leader.
“The base building’s floor-to-floor height was such that a high level of system coordination was required to achieve the desired ceiling heights throughout the building,” Catanzaro added.
The base building phase was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification standards, as outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, the office building fit-up phase is being designed to achieve WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute – a tool that determines a building’s health based on several factors, such as air quality, water use, natural light and fitness.
“A WELL building certification indicates that a workspace has been designed to provide employees and tenants with better enjoyment and overall employee satisfaction within the working environment,” Catanzaro said.
The building features a 5,000-square-foot server room, 15,000-square foot kitchen and café space, chilled-beam HVAC systems, and water savings measures that are 25 percent above code requirements. The building also includes energy efficient lighting and control systems, and a 500 KVA generator for standby power.
“The mechanical cooling systems for the building consist of an active chilled beam cooling system which includes a hydronic-based system that provides higher efficiently levels then an air-based cooling/heating system,” Catanzaro said. “The HVAC system includes high-efficiency chilled beam and perimeter fine tube radiation system.”
To provide the company—and its customers—with peace of mind, the electrical design for the NOCC and BOCC spaces is completely backed up by generator power.
Like the path that unifies the Akamai Headquarters, one of the keys to the project’s ability to stay on target for on-time completion was continual open communication between the project’s ownership and design team.
“At its conception, the project outlined an aggressive design and construction schedule,” Catanzaro said. “With this goal in mind, the entire project team functioned as a unified organization to meet the goals of the client.”
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