Iron Mountain: Workspace Re-Invented

Iron Mountain: Workspace Re-Invented

Iron Mountain: Workspace Re-Invented

By Janet Morra, AIA, LEED AP | Principal at Margulies Perruzzi Architects.

When preparing to relocate its global headquarters from 745 Atlantic Avenue to One Federal Street in Boston, Iron Mountain, a worldwide provider of information storage and management solutions, seized the opportunity to completely re-envision its workspace from a design perspective, workforce policies perspective and healthy living perspective.

Iron Mountain’s former office did not facilitate collaboration or project the company’s global reach and professionalism to its associates, customers or prospective employees. Offices with solid walls and doors ringed the perimeter, and, coupled with gray six-foot high interior workstations, cut off all visibility to co-workers and natural light, creating a maze-like effect that was isolating and energy-draining.

Iron Mountain sought a high-performance, sustainable, office environment to reflect its culture, to support its increasingly mobile workforce, to increase collaborative space and improve efficiency, and to support the company’s focus on health and wellness for its employees. The design challenge for Iron Mountain’s global headquarters was to create a high performance workspace achieved on-budget and which:

  • Supported Iron Mountain’s new Mobile Mountaineering workforce program, reducing real estate needs;
  • Provided substantially improved collaboration space, facilitating communication among employees; and
  • Promoted the global reach of Iron Mountain’s business including its brand values of security, trust, pro-activity, value, sustainability, and community within the design of the new office.

Featuring an open, flexible, and efficient floor plan with individual workspaces, 100 fewer offices, and technology-supported conference and collaboration rooms, the high performance workspace design of Iron Mountain’s new global headquarters spans two floors with large 56,000 SF floor plates. The decision to substantially reduce the number of private offices, and to keep perimeter windows accessible by placing those offices in the interior of the space, paved the way for the design. All offices and conference rooms feature glass fronts to promote better visibility. Low-height workstations are arranged in “neighborhoods,” encouraging collaboration while avoiding the feel of a large sea of people. To foster chance encounters between people in different departments and truly “connect” all employees, a dramatic, open inter-connected staircase was designed to unite the main reception area with the café (called “the Vault”) and training center directly below.

A major design objective was to provide for a mobile work program, subsequently branded Mobile Mountaineering. Based on job function, 150 of Iron Mountain’s 600 Boston employees enrolled in the program and are provided 100 workstations for a ratio of 1.5 employees to 1 seat. Approximately 40 Mobile Mountaineers found a partner with whom to “share” a workstation on alternate days, providing both with dedicated yet shared space and affording Iron Mountain the benefit of reaching a head-to-seat ratio of 2:1 in those instances.

Three unique applications highlight this project: branding, sustainability, and wellness. To meet the objectives of having the space reflect the company’s brand values and be clearly recognized as the company’s globalheadquarters, the design team instituted a strong branding program utilizing Iron Mountain’s brand colors and images reflecting brand attributes. The reception area features a backlit world map showing Iron Mountain’s 548 markets across 36 countries. As part of Iron Mountain’s holistic approach to wellness, sustainability was a priority for this project, which has been submitted for LEED Gold certification. Iron Mountain also completely re-envisioned the company’s café from a place that was undersized and poorly laid out, to a bright, colorful, full-service cafeteria, with multiple seating options and a new healthy eating approach.

Iron Mountain moved to its new headquarters in February 2014, reducing its square footage from approximately 128,000 SF in its previous headquarters at 745 Atlantic Avenue to 112,000 SF at One Federal, while increasing its conference rooms from 14 to 31 and adding a tremendous number of amenities.

Employees are beyond thrilled with the new workspace, and very vocal about it. Both the HR leadership and CRE teams are regularly stopped by employees who want to tell them how happy they are coming to work and how much they love the new space and amenities.

The Iron Mountain Global Headquarters project was recently honored with three awards:

  • CoreNet Global New England 2014 Award of Excellence, Best New Workplace/Large Renovation
  • IFMA Boston 2014 Best Practice Award of Excellence, Medium Project
  • NEWiRE Achievement Award for Networking

About the Author:
Janet Morra, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal at Margulies Perruzzi Architects. Consistently ranked as one of Boston’s top architectural and interior design firms, Margulies Perruzzi Architects services the corporate, professional services, research and development, real estate, and healthcare communities. For more information, please visit

Iron Mountain Project Team:

  • Margulies Perruzzi Architects  |  Interior architecture and branding
  • Structure Tone  |  Construction management services
  • RDK Engineers  |  Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering consulting
  • LeMessurier  |  Structural engineering
  • Communication Design Associates  |  Audiovisual design
  • Colburn & Guyette  |  Food service design
  • Horton Lees Brogden  |  Lighting design
  • Acentech  |  Acoustical consulting
  • Entegra  |  LEED consulting
  • Fort Point Project Management  |  Project management services
  • Red Thread  |  Furniture
  • Jones Lang Lasalle  |  Brokerage representation
  • McCarter & English  |  Legal services
  • Gamble Design  |  Signage
  • Boston Art  |  Artwork