Event Spotlight: Love, TRIA


February 27, 2020

TRIA recently expanded into the space next to our original office to accommodate our growing staff. We wanted to think of a way to thank both our employees, partners, and our clients for making this continued growth possible, whilst also showing off the design of our new space. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, what better way than an open house event?

The result was a Valentine themed celebration hosted in our own office, complete with a dance floor and live music. With almost 350 attendees, it was an incredible night filled with good company and lots of laughs! We want to thank everyone’s effort in making this happen, and of course, thank you to everyone who joined us for the evening.

Event Spotlight: IIDA New England Fashion Show


November 26, 2019


Staci Barber & Donald Bárány

One of our favorite annual events just passed: the IIDA New England Fashion Show! We just love to see all the incredible outfits that grace the runway, and 2019 brought along some exciting changes. Each submission pulled a sub-theme to the overall theme, PORTALS: TRIA’s sub-theme was Jurassic Park. We had a lot of fun with this one!

We teamed up with Reflex Lighting and Wolf Gordon and chose to have two models.

Model 1 –  Thomas Choi represented the human, Ian Malcolm, aka, beloved actor, Jeff Goldblum. This ensemble was largely represented by Wolf Gordon materials. The outfit was dark, made up of shades of black with accents of red. As the human stuck within Jurassic Park, he has been attacked – he is bloody – but he is a survivor.

Deconstructed Materials Included:

  • Upholstery
  • Wall Cover

Model 2 – Our second model was Ryan Whitcomb who represented the dinosaur, the dilophosaurus, dressed in an outfit largely consisting of materials provided by Reflex Lighting. For inspiration, we looked to the dinosaur’s descendants: birds. This outfit was much more colorful and vibrant than the human’s and focused on transparency and beauty. The dinosaur shows off – he is the ultimate predator and fears no one.

Deconstructed Materials Included:

  • Wire
  • Zip Ties
  • Polypropylene
  • Galvanized Steel Mesh
  • Crystals

This year was extra special for us as our team won the award for Most Innovative. Also, Ryan got to strut his stuff on the runway as runner up for Best Walk. Let’s just say, our voices were a little raspy the next day from all the cheering.

Can’t wait for next year!

Special shout out: Another reason we love this annual event is that proceeds go towards a charity beneficiary.  This year’s beneficiary was YouthBuild Boston, providing underserved young people with the support and credentials needed to successfully enter the building trades. Find out more about YouthBuild Boston here: www.youthbuildboston.org.

Event Spotlight: Battle of the Biotech Bands


July 1, 2019


Staci Barber & Donald Bárány

The 6th annual Battle of the Biotech Bands was on May 30th.  Each year, four bands consisting of biotech industry employees, compete for the number one spot with hit-covers and an energy that never fails to amaze. The winner is awarded 50% of the event’s proceeds, which are donated to the charity of their choosing. The remaining proceeds are split amongst the other bands’ chosen charities.

2019 bands and charities:

The Battle of the Biotech Bands is a super fun event, and one that we at TRIA like to support. This year, we (Donald and Staci) were given the opportunity to act as band leads. Working closely with the event co-chairs and the band members, we helped to make sure that shared instruments would be available, sound check times were scheduled, and, most importantly, that everyone would be comfortable when it was their turn to hit the stage. Being backstage offered us a different perspective, but one that was just as fun as being among the crowd.

This year, Battle of the Biotech Bands raised $120,000 for charity. A commendable achievement aided by the hard work of the bands, organizers, volunteers, and attendees.

Check out some of the pictures we took backstage. Can’t wait for next year!

Creating the Look of Daylight in a Repositioned Lobby


January 24, 2019


Donald Bárány

Staff Bio

Donald Bárány

Donald Bárány

Refreshed lobby at 38 Sidney Street
Photo by Sri Thumati Photography

Article originally appeared in High-Profile Monthly on January 24, 2019.

It’s clear that an attractive building lobby can help attract potential tenants. With that goal in mind, Forest City Realty Trust, now owned by Brookfield Properties, endeavored to update all the office building lobbies at University Park at MIT, a mixed-use science and technology park adjacent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The Clark Building at 38 Sidney Street, a five-story, 122,000sf office, research, and lab building, houses several major pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and fronts the University Park Common, the central greenspace of the campus setting. Design firm TRIA was engaged to create a refreshed lobby for 38 Sidney Street and achieve a new building positioning that would appeal to biotech tenants while maintaining a cohesive look amongst the other recently updated adjacent building lobbies.

Built in the 1980s, the existing lobby space at 38 Sidney was dark and dated and had limited natural lighting. TRIA’s design intent was to create a more timeless, museum-like setting by utilizing a simple, modern design. The design centered around the core concept of creating the illusion of natural daylight deep inside the space.

The main focal point of the lobby is the winding glass-and-steel staircase that features a large, stretched-fabric lighted fixture on the ceiling to help mimic natural daylight and reflect light off the glass. Throughout the lobby, indirect recessed lighting is cleverly integrated into the architecture to flood the space with light and cause light to sparkle, like natural sunlight, through the glass treads of the staircase.

A complex design of “stepped” folding walls and ceilings feature embedded LED lights that frame the eye through the lobby, to the vestibule of the main entrance where University Park Common is visible. Delicate recessed LED wall washers follow the folding geometry to create a cascade of light. Light-colored wood-paneled walls balance the cascading effect of the walls and ceilings while providing a neutral backdrop. A custom-made quartz reception desk offers visitors a veritable art piece in the museum-looking space, and a cozy sitting area adjacent to reception features two LCD screens recessed into the wall to display a building directory and other news.

From the lobby, dark walnut wood-framed openings create thresholds to two tenant corridor spaces. The stone-sourced light tile lobby floor shifts to complementary toned carpets in these corridors, with a dropped cloud ceiling accentuating the spaces. Natural plants and banquette seating with green cushions draw the colors of nature from University Park Common into the lobby.

TRIA collaborated closely with Siena Construction to construct the complicated architecture of folding geometry, integrated lighting, and staircase at 38 Sidney Street. Structural engineering firm Goldstein-Milano consulted on the glass-and-steel staircase as well as the infill of the two-story atrium space above the main entrance. The project team also included WB Engineers + Consultants for MEP engineering and Reflex Lighting for light fixture selection.

About the Author

Donald Bárány is a project designer at TRIA, a partner-led architecture firm with a focus on designing unique spaces for science & technology and corporate clients. For more information, please visit https://tria.design/.

Specialized Facilities Require Unique Design Expertise


November 1, 2018


Jonathan Romig

Staff Bio

Jonathan Romig

Article originally appeared in High-Profile Monthly on October 25, 2018.

Within the growing biotech and life sciences sector in the Boston area, the requirements for successful lab space design are well understood by owners and designers in this field. Most labs and research facilities have become quite straightforward in their design, following best practices for flexibility, compliance, and function. More challenging are the specialized facilities that must meet very demanding requirements in order for them to perform properly and safely. Those requirements are what really differentiate these facilities from the bulk of research facilities that are designed today.

What is a specialized facility? There are four notable categories:

  1. cGMP “Current Good Manufacturing Practices” facilities,for drug, device, and HCT/P (human cells, tissues, and related products) manufacturing, need to meet strict regulatory requirements for the manufacture of safe and effective products;
  2. Micro-electronics and nano-technology facilities require cleanrooms and low-vibration spaces that are typically outside the range of normal laboratories;
  3. Biocontainment facilities require precise environmental controls for research on infectious diseases; and
  4. Vivarium, or animal care facilities, involve a more rigorous set of requirements than a standard research facility. These facilities must provide a stable and humane environment for the animals while controlling the transmission of disease.

These specialized environments do have some aspects in common. First, specialized facilities in general are unlike common research spaces. They typically don’t utilize a modular, flexible design strategy, as their demanding uses don’t lend themselves to generic, repetitive space elements. Instead, spaces in most specialized facilities are custom-tailored to their special and demanding functional needs, and sometimes even necessitate the construction of dedicated buildings when the structure, infrastructure and service need can’t be met by a standard research building. Second, depending on the building and end user’s budget, the functional spaces in specialized facilities are sometimes supported by an interstitial floor of mechanical services and equipment. All four categories of the above mentioned facilities require high air flows and air changes to keep the air either clean or contained to protect the laboratory process, people, and/or the environment. The interstitial floor, consisting of a double-floor or a suspended deck in a double-height space, provides a level above the functional space for air systems and equipment to service the working area. While the interstitial floor is sometimes preferable, it is important to note that there are other design options that may better suit the end user’s specific needs. Finally, specialized facilities are significantly more expensive than traditional research space, so they need to be carefully designed to be cost-effective while still performing well.

Because specialized facilities are very costly and difficult to create, and particularly difficult to modify or expand later after construction, it’s critically important to get it right. It is fairly common to “overdesign” a facility of this type in performance characteristics such as space, capacity, and systems. Mechanical systems may be installed with more capacity than current needs dictate or to support future expansion. The specifications and performance of the floor slab may be enhanced to create an ultra-low vibration environment that exceeds thresholds for conducting sensitive testing or research, particularly in nanotechnology and microelectronics facilities. For owners, there is security in designing a high-performance facility so that it serves their needs today and in the future.

The best advice? Get a qualified and experienced design firm involved from the very beginning. Specialized research and manufacturing environments are mission-critical facilities that are complex to design, must perform at their intended level, and leave no room for error in meeting function, building codes and guidance documents. Micro-electronics and nano-technology facilities use hazardous chemicals, life science cleanrooms are defined by the particulate count in the air, biocontainment facilities must prevent the release of deadly diseases, and vivarium must provide a healthy and controlled environment for sensitive research animals.  If a facility doesn’t operate properly and precisely when completed, the entire mission of the facility and the organization may be at risk. An experienced designer approaches specialized facilities with an eye for reducing risk while providing an increment of innovation in how each facility is designed and procured.

About the Author

Jonathan Romig is a senior project manager and senior lab planner at TRIA, a partner-led architecture firm with a focus on designing unique spaces for science & technology and corporate clients. For more information, please visit https://tria.design/.

Design Elements that Define a Successful Open Office Environment


September 24, 2018


Lucianna Lucarelli

Staff Bio

Lucianna Lucarelli

Lucianna Lucarelli

A change in how – and where – people work has given companies the motivation to embrace an open and collaborative workspace. While studies have shown that this trend can increase productivity, boost employee satisfaction, and attract and retain top talent, the transition from a traditional office design to an open and collaborative workspace can be daunting to some employees.

The most effective open office environments provide a variety of work settings and meeting areas to best support employees. A successful design is tailored toward a company’s business goals and culture, and appeals to how employees work and what tools they find useful. Enhanced common areas, meeting rooms and social spaces can help to foster interaction and team work, increasing job satisfaction and productivity while requiring less square footage per person than individual offices.

When Cresa relocated its Boston office to the 10th floor of Atlantic Wharf, a mixed-use tower in Boston’s vibrant Waterfront District, TRIA provided interior architecture and corporate design services to create an open, modern and collaborative workspace that maximizes natural light and spectacular views of Boston Harbor. The energetic physical space reflects Cresa’s evolution and growth as a company while showcasing the workplace strategy design elements its clients seek.

Shifting Cresa’s workspace from a traditional office design to an open office environment, TRIA’s approach was to incorporate various types of work settings and gathering spaces to create a casual and collaborative office. The existing space featured an open perimeter, high ceilings and expansive glass–features that helped to accentuate the abundance of natural light and views of the water. In designing the transition from Cresa’s former traditional office at 200 State Street to its new open office workspace, TRIA incorporated the following design elements:

  • Varied work areas: Cresa’s high performance workspace was designed to accommodate employee work styles and individual preferences. Glass-fronted offices and clusters of low-walled workstations provide transparency and connection, and draw natural light deeper into the space. Shared locker storage areas offer visual separation of work zones and double as stand-up meeting spaces for impromptu gatherings.
  • Meeting spaces: Following the trend of fewer dedicated conference rooms, Cresa opted instead for a mix of meeting and collaborative spaces based on the company’s work style. TRIA’s design provides plenty of choices for interaction, with technology-enabled conference rooms of varied sizes, small huddle areas with standing-height tables, and casual meeting rooms with soft seating.
  • Café as collaborative zone: Cresa’s new workspace features a central café with multiple seating options to encourage informal gatherings throughout the day. Designed as a multi-purpose collaboration zone, the café features an assortment of table seating, bar stools, and banquette seating to encourage employee engagement. The flexible space also accommodates larger company meetings and events.
  • Focus on technology: Cresa made a significant investment in technology and AV in the new office, including the installation of display screens in huddle spaces and conference rooms and the implementation of Zoom technology to support remote work. The combination of Zoom technology and the new open office environment allows employees to work more collaboratively internally and with clients.

In designing the space, TRIA blended a warm neutral palette with wood tones to create a sophisticated and modern yet inviting style. A range of polished and rustic materials enrich the space, including concrete flooring, exposed ceilings, reclaimed wood details and glass walls. A wood slat ceiling extends from Cresa’s reception area into the main tenant corridor to create a distinct feel as visitors enter the office. A demountable wall between the reception area and adjoining conference room features a fully integrated, seamless technology system, with one flat-panel screen for branding facing reception and another screen facing conference room participants.

While making the transition from traditional to modern office spaces can be challenging, a workspace that supports collaboration and encourages social interaction can help maximize efficiency and lead to happier employees.

About the Author

Lucianna Lucarelli is the director of interiors at TRIA. Her article was originally written for Cresa Boston’s blog.

Outside the Box: Jeannie Pierce Thacker Brings Together Unique Skill Sets in Lab Design


December 9, 2016

Jeannie Thacker, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Photo by W. Marc Bernsau, Boston Business Journal

Article originally appeared in Boston Business Journal on December 9, 2016.

As a high school volunteer at a children’s hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, Jeannie Pierce Thacker’s eyes were opened to how architecture and design impact patients and families. After getting her undergrad degree in biology, Thacker came home to Massachusetts and worked several lab jobs before undertaking HIV research at Harvard Medical School. But Thacker still saw a disconnect between scientific research and the patients that research was meant to help, so she took a graduate immunology class and an interior-design class to connect the disconnected.

Armed with real-life experience as a biotech research scientist, Thacker co-founded architecture firm TRIA last year to focus exclusively on lab design — a field that’s immensely hot in Cambridge’s life science-heavy real estate market. Thacker caught up with Business Journal Real Estate Editor Catherine Carlock.

You launched TRIA last September with managing partner Sherwood Butler. How has business been so far?

We’ve secured master service agreements with three major pharmaceutical companies and are considered a leading provider of real estate solutions to the life science community. We’ve won 64 projects, ranging in size from 500 square feet to 200,000 square feet, have tripled our revenue projections for one year and have grown to 18 employees. Most of our work is renovating interior spaces, and some ground-up work.

What’s a master service agreement?

It means you’re prequalified to bid on any job coming up, and if it’s under a certain project threshold they can award the project directly to you. It gives you a much better chance of getting work from them.

How do you see your background as a researcher helping shape your design work?

Many don’t really understand what it’s like to be a researcher in a lab space on a day-to-day basis. It can be hard to have a lab coat, gloves and goggles on all day. And people in clean rooms have to have full suits and booties and bonnets. It was always thought lab spaces should be on the interior of the building, with exteriors reserved for office or amenity space. But in reality, you can’t have food or coffee or water when you’re in the lab. You’re tied to the clock. … You could be in there for a solid eight hours and have no time to go to the bathroom or get anything to drink. So we really keep that in mind, to make amenity space closer. We’ve been really cognizant of understanding the scientists’ workflow and the experiments they’re running, really partnering with them to make them see what can make their lives easier. It’s really just taking into consideration what this person was doing in a lab, and giving them access to natural light, as long as it’s not hurting any of the science they’re doing.

Availability of lab space is incredibly tight in Cambridge. How does that impact your work?

Over 95 percent of the lab work in Kendall Square is rehabbing existing space, whether it’s office space being converted to lab space or lab space that hasn’t been updated in a long time. There are plenty of spaces like that in Cambridge that need to be renovated. That’s where there’s an opportunity for us to come in and take the labs to the next level and be more flexible and modular.

Do you see employers considering investing in lab real estate an important choice long-term?

The space is at a premium in Cambridge. There’s a lot of competition between large biotech and pharmaceutical clients, and also startups. They’re all trying to rally for some of the best talent coming out of MIT and Harvard, and there’s a standard that they have to come up to recruit.

What do you see as the connection between science and architecture?

They’re both focused on problem-solving and trouble-shooting — scientifically, at a microscopic level using instrumentation and qualitative data, versus architecturally, which provides more immediate gratification.

What’s your vision for TRIA’s growth?

With 18 people, we’re at the size where we can handle pretty much any project that comes our way. Long-term, our goal is to grow the company as much as we need to support all of our clients. Whether that’s holding steady at 18 individuals, or whether we need to revise that and go up to 30 or 50, we are willing to do whatever we need to do to support what our client needs.

TBT – Women in Architecture


December 8, 2016

Recently we were talking with one of our co-workers who had just attended a week-long intensive course for architects. The class instructor, a woman, had commented that for the first time in her 30 years of teaching the course, this class was comprised of just as many women as men.

This comment got us thinking. In a world where there are more and more female architects, what was it like being a female architect when the industry was mainly comprised of males? Then, it got us researching. Who were these important figures?

And, here are our findings. The following are some of the most influential women in architecture who paved the way for female architects and designers today:

  • Eileen Gray – 1878-1976 – Irish furniture designer and architect whose interior design schemes are still considered modern today. (http://bit.ly/28NunpG)
  • Norma Merrick Sklarek – 1928-2012 – First licensed African-American female architect. She went on to form a successful all-female architectural firm. (http://bit.ly/28MDXZy)
  • Gaetana Aulenti – 1927-2012 – Italian architect who designed furniture, lighting, and renovated and restored museum spaces in Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco, and other well-known cities. (http://bit.ly/28KFvkd)
  • Julia Morgan – 1872-1957 – Californian architect who designed more than 700 buildings. She was the first woman ever to be awarded the AIA Gold Medal. (http://bit.ly/NirU87)
  • Zaha Hadid – 1950- 2016 – Iraqi-born British architect who was internationally known for her work. She was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. (http://bit.ly/1kFKbqV)Find more famous female architects, here: http://bit.ly/28KHsg1.

TRIA: Where Design Meets Innovation


January 11, 2016

One of the initial choices any start-up has to make is where to call home. For us, the decision was a no-brainer, and with support from our hard-working broker, Cushman & Wakefield, and helpful landlord, Jamestown, we were able to move into the Innovation and Design Building, located in the Innovation District in Boston’s Seaport area.

The 1.4 million square foot Innovation and Design Building, or IDB, houses a diverse mix of companies, ranging from start-ups to more recognized establishments. On the adjacent side of the building is the Boston Design Center, showcasing all the latest in design with artfully crafted showrooms filled with luxury product lines. The complex is truly the definition of where design meets innovation.

At TRIA, we understand the importance of combining quality design with innovative ideas. We take pride in the fact that we help science and technology organizations create the places that advance scientific discovery, furthering that innovative spirit.

New Architecture Firm Specializing in Tech, Biotech Launches in Boston’s Seaport


December 1, 2015

Staff Bio

Sherwood Butler

Jeannie Thacker, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Photo by W. Marc Bernsau, Boston Business Journal

Two former employees at Perkins+Will are splitting off to form a new architecture firm in Boston’s Seaport District to serve the area’s life sciences and technology companies.

Sherwood Butler, formerly a principal of Perkins+Will working in the Boston office, and Jeannie Pierce Thacker, a former senior associate at the firm, today announced the launch of Tria, which they describe as a “partner-led architecture firm with a focus on sciences and technology organizations.” Both previously worked at Signer Harris Architects, which was founded in 1989 and acquired by Perkins+Will in 2012.

More information: Boston Business Journal