One Kendall Square is a vibrant mixed-use complex of historic buildings located in Cambridge that features two key spaces – Hampshire and Upper plazas. The two plazas help anchor a series of pedestrian spaces within the former industrial complex and now high-tech hub and are surrounded by numerous restaurants and bars, including Blue Room, State Park, Cambridge Brewing Company, Friendly Toast, and the newly opened Smoke Shop. In 2014, RBA was asked to help provide a new vision for the plazas, improve connectivity and address accessibility issues. This effort ultimately led to the recently completed renovations of both plazas.
Seen as the front door to the two block campus, Hampshire Plaza is a key social and commercial hub within Kendall Square. With restaurants and building entries on three different levels, the design focused on reorganizing the plaza and opening up it up to create a more generous and flexible and connected spaces. Materials were chosen to be more in keeping with the industrial character of the space. Planters and furnishings were specified to help provide a more cohesive edge to the various restaurants. New stairs, ramps, and bridges were added to clarify circulation and make all levels accessible. An existing upper deck was expanded to provide more seating and people-watching opportunities. In the Upper Plaza, new unit pavers were laid to help brighten the space. Catenary lighting was installed with poles that echo the cadence of the existing Honey Locust trees.
More recently, RBA worked with the same design team on a schematic design for the Cinema block parcel associated with a proposed new commercial building.