David Manfredi: Increasing Intersection Between Issues of Design, Sustainability, Health and User Experience

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David P. Manfredi

(Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of articles on design trends by leading experts from Boston’s largest architectural firms. This article focuses on future of design by David P. Manfredi, CEO and Founding Principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, Boston’s largest architectural firm.)

BRET: Where is the growth coming from now in Greater Boston?

David P. Manfredi: We are all very fortunate to be working in this market because our great educational and medical institutions are providing innovation, new enterprises, and job creation at unprecedented scale.

Certainly, life science, as produced by institutions and developers is experiencing intense growth, but there is growth in other markets that are affected by this innovation economy.

BRET: How is sustainability factoring in design and how are Landlords/Developers embracing this?

David P. Manfredi: Principles and practices of sustainability are fundamental to every project we undertake. Our commitment to reversing the impact of climate change makes it essential to our work, but the market and the regulatory environment of the Commonwealth and the cities and towns also demand it, and the marketplace is responding because the customer, user, and guest all expect a responsible and proactive response from everyone who designs and builds.

I am hopeful that for all these reasons, the advancement in building technology, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the achievement of net neutral energy consumption will all accelerate at unprecedented levels and effect significant, measurable improvements.

Elkus Manfredi Architects is working with Alexandria Real Estate and National
Development on a flagship life science building currently under construction at 15
Necco Street in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood. Establishing 15 Necco as a
welcoming space for the public is a cornerstone of the design. The entire ground
floor is devoted to public uses, including a community touchdown space and a public
work lounge that allows pedestrians to filter from the new Necco Plaza to the
planned 100 Acre linear park.

BRET: Any other trends that Elkus Manfredi Architects sees in the market place?

David P. Manfredi: Technology continues to change how we produce our work, communicate our ideas, and collaborate with our colleagues.

  • Our design teams continue to become more multi-disciplinary; our access to data about building performance is accelerating; and our ability to integrate increasing amounts of data is transforming design.
  • Our design teams are more diverse—both within our practice, and in teams of cocreation. This diversity exposes more approaches, building traditions, and ideas that will make our work and our world better.
  • The increasing intersection between issues of design, sustainability, health and user experience will result in continued trends of collaboration across multiple disciplines in the real estate sector to create individual buildings and broader environments that meet multiple goals.
The St. Regis Residences, Boston, as developed by Cronin Development and
designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, has a billowing style specifically inspired by
the curvilinear shape of a tall ship at sail. The building’s construction includes a
waterfront terrace on Level 2, and a connection to the 45-mile-long Harborwalk.
Both the restaurant terrace and the Harborwalk provide views and direct access to
Boston Harbor from Seaport Boulevard. Public open space, including the Harborwalk
and adjacent Massport Wharf, occupies approximately 60% of the ground floor.
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