Environmental Law Offices
A New Model for Low Carbon Design & Project Delivery
KVA’s design creates a new low carbon workplace for the United States Headquarters of the Meister Group, a leading global Clean Energy Law Consultancy. The project challenges the normative material culture of the workplace and redefines the spatial organization of the Law Office typology, its material palette, its infrastructure and furniture and offers a fresh alternative to conventional carbon intensive construction industry practices that is immediately practicable, impactful and scalable.

By integrating interdisciplinary design, project management, and the construction capabilities of online digital fabrication networks KVA Matx created a Meister workplace design that can be constructed locally in three global regions where the company works--Europe, Asia and North America. This allows locally sourced materials to be manufactured in local workshops, by small-scale contractors—growing local economies and skill sets. This distributed, clean manufacturing model offers very significant carbon savings by the elimination the global shipping and transportation system.
KVA’s Meister Headquarters project demonstrates that the design of extreme material and carbon reductions can enhance a global corporate identity and create a surprising new intensity of spatial experience. The pilot project for the Meister group is located in the Boston Government Centre Plaza Building, a modern concrete slab structure, built in 1961.

‘Elastic’ Floor Plan
The design creates an “elastic” floor plan that provides private work and collaboration spaces. The design eliminates the cubical, maximizes shared public space and “compresses” the typical private corporate office into a zone of shared mini conference rooms that provide acoustic privacy for confidential calls. Real time scheduling makes private space use available and convenient for all. This radically reduces the use of interior partitions, gypsum drywall and associated construction materials. A glazed conference room admits daylight and expands the adjacent café space for public events and education seminars on clean energy.

Material Transformation: Meister Möbellinie /Meister Furniture Line
The design creates a strong aesthetic character with only two primary interior material finishes: Zero VOC paint and sustainably harvested plywood. At the clients’ request, KVA Matx designed and developed the Meister Möbellinie: a sustainable new line of acoustic plywood panels and modular office furniture that support flexible and collaborative office practices. The design team used in-house rapid prototyping and fabrication feed back to design simple, efficient CNC milling techniques for standard FCS plywood and 100% organic finishes. Material waste was greatly reduced, maximizing resources. A single blue tension strap provides structural integrity without the use of glue or hardware so that the MeisterLine furniture can be single stream recycled at end of life. Design for “pop up” furniture assembly and take-down allows for the future expansion and/or relocation of the Meister offices.

Flexible Infrastructure
The design makes minimizes heating and cooling loads and provides daylight autonomy in all workspaces achieving a 30% reduction in Lighting Power Density (Watts/sf) beyond ASHRAE standards. An overhead infrastructure of power/data drops was created to reduce extensive cable installation and electrical wiring, increase workplace flexibility and minimize costs, materials and carbon emissions. The Meister electrical and wireless network drops are easily accessible and flexible. They have significantly diminished office wide use of paper, paper waste and associated embodied energy. The new elastic floor plan needs only one HVAC return, which reduces costs in the “turnkey” office lease structure and provides an increase in usable ceiling height. Instead of a conventional dropped ceiling, KVA designed CNC milled plywood wall panels to improve acoustics, sequester carbon and reveal the subtle colour patterns of wood lamination layers.

Date: 2015
Status: Completed
Client: Meister Consulting Group
Location: Boston, MA
Design Team:
Frano Violich, FAIA; Managing Principal
Sheila Kennedy, FAIA; Principal Consulting on Design
Shawna Meyer, AIA, LEED AP; Project Manager
Alex Shelly, AIA, Associate; Kyle Altman; Blair Ekleberry; Jeremy Billoti
Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd.
MEP Engineering: WB Engineers + Consultants
Owners Representative: Fort Point Project Management
General Contractor: Corderman & Company, Inc.

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