The Venture Development Center (VDC) is a mixed-use incubator designed to support technology and life science entrepreneurs. It is a joint venture between the University of Massachusetts and the Venture Development Center and is also strategically intended to elevate UMass's reputation in the sciences and increase funding. The space, which features exquisite views to the bay, was originally a cafeteria with poor sub-structure. The primary goal of the project was to create an environment that fosters collaboration and experimentation among entrepreneurs. Additional goals included providing crisp, ready-to-use workspace and capitalizing on the views to the bay. Sasaki designed a fully-equipped professional work environment that is flexible, transparent, and encourages collaboration. The sleek, industrial design of the space captures the energy of start-up companies while offering the refinement and resources of a seasoned corporation.
An interior glazing system at the reception desk, work pods, offices, and presentation room provides panoramic views of Boston Harbor. Curved yellow accent walls encourage energy and movement through the space. The café, work pods, and soft seating are modern and welcoming—catalysts for impromptu meetings or conversations.
The multipurpose room was designed with a wall of sliding doors to allow large functions to spill out into the lobby, providing space to accommodate 125 people. The collaboration center features three meeting areas, accommodating groups of six to 35. The dark grey drapery in the presentation room serves as a dramatic backdrop for the large single-panel plasma monitor.
Hybrid wet and dry labs provide integrated spaces for research, development, and communication. All of the labs are configurable into suites to accommodate four to 16 people. Both the labs and presentation room feature cutting-edge technologies.