Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Located in Boston’s dynamic Seaport District, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance’s new building, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, offers 310,000 square feet of waterfront commercial space including prime, ground-floor retail opportunities and a 5,900-square-foot outdoor public plaza facing the marina.
Named MassMutual , the project has recently been awarded a 2023 American Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Design, and Urban Studies.
MassMutual’s new LEED-Platinum building on Boston Harbor is not a container for staff, but a tool for staff success, and a model for health and wellness.
In creating the building, MassMutual applied the same empathy and respect for its staff members that it gives to its clients, and the result is a workspace.
The building’s harbor-inspired water concept is expressed on the curved facade, which folds to form two balcony terraces that look out onto the Harbor.
Inside, each floor continues the water theme, Surf, Sky, Clouds, Waterfall, etc. Indicative of MassMutual’s employee-centric commitment, the building’s top floor, the 17th, is given over not to top executives but to employees.
Amenities on this floor include a coffee bar, a club lounge with game room, a large outdoor terrace, and a multi-purpose area for employee and company events.
On each level below the 17th floor, the spaces with the most desirable views and daylight are given to the most people as community spaces for collaboration, team-building, socialization, and recharging.
The wide array of non-hierarchical workspaces gives employees the agency and tools to do their best work, evidence of leadership’s trust in them to make their own choices about how they work within the space.
Accessible and inclusive work environments include ergonomically designed, rounded work pods, organized in neighborhoods and arranged organically versus in rows that advance the fluid sense of the space and workflow. Inclusive design elements abound, including 100% individual, gender-neutral bathrooms on every floor.
All staff, including senior executives and the CEO, share the same model and same array of spaces. On the 13th floor is the employee cafeteria, the downtown marketplace of the building.
Designed to facilitate and encourage casual interaction among employees at all levels, the cafeteria is a magnet itself, drawing employees from every floor of the building with multiple seating options, freshly prepared meals, and spectacular views of the harbor from a second balcony.
Uniqueness and innovation are in MassMutual’s DNA. Founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1851 by 31 neighbors who promised to support and protect each other, the insurance and investment company still thrives under the motto of Live Mutual, celebrating its status as a company that is not publicly traded but owned mutually by its policyholders.
In the early 20th century, insurance buildings were generally neoclassical fortresses evincing strength and permanence; in the post-World War II modernist era, they tended toward generic glass boxes.
MassMutual Boston is a wholesale departure from those archetypes.
The company’s leadership understands that building community around employees is the only way to attract and retain the best talent.
MassMutual’s leadership didn’t start the project with real estate metrics: The team have this many people, so that means this many square feet per person.
MassMutual’s new workplace physically manifests transparency in its facades and throughout its interiors, epitomizing MassMutual’s employee-centric, non-hierarchical, and community-oriented organizational ethos, which has already resulted in a highly successful cultural and business evolution.
At its core, MassMutual puts its employees on par with its customers. Flexible, resilient, responsible, and in service of the community, the company’s new workplace is uniquely representative of a company that lives up to its name: MassMutual.
Architects: Elkus Manfredi Architects Ltd.
Lead Architect: David P. Manfredi, FAIA, LEED AP
General Contractor: Turner Construction
Client: Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.
Photographers: Robert Benson, Eric Laignel, and Raj Das