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The idea behind Verizon's new campus in Waltham, Mass., is to showcase the future of 4G LTE technology for fast Internet access on devices such as cellphones. The low-slung, airy center aims to allow users to explore the next frontier of wireless connectivity, quickly prototype and test products as well as build and exhibit them in a real-world setting.

The project involved building spaces that are signal-contamination free—that is, external networks are canceled and foreign devices are forbidden to allow for flexible and pure technology testing environments.

The project included installing radio frequency shielding using a sheet of copper embedded within the floor, walls and ceiling. This allows for the simulation of lab environments for large-scale demonstrations, including the use of non-FCC-compliant devices before they reach the market.

"Flexible wiring infrastructure is everywhere to support ad-hoc changes to systems tailored for each customer," design firm Nelson says. "Floor, wall and ceiling power/data/AV boxes are located throughout in strategic locations to support ultimate flexibility."

The center, which aspires to LEED-Gold status, includes a 75-ft-tall tower that marks the entrance to the building, consumer and demonstration labs, and a 30-person theater.

Stylistically, "every design element was chosen to reinforce how different minds could come together to define the indefinable and mark a path for a bold new future," Nelson says. The color scheme is black, gray, white and red, evoking Verizon's logo; wood and stone are deployed to allow the technology to stand out.

Current exhibits include a "Connected Home," where lights can be turned on and off remotely, while the heating and cooling systems can be managed from a phone.

"It's interesting to have displayed space for high tech and have the ability to accommodate futuristic technology," one ENR New York judge says. "The electrical work had to accommodate all of these different displays. Everything had to communicate without interference."

Verizon Innovation Center, Waltham, Mass.

Key Players

Owner/Developer: Verizon

General Contractor/Construction Manager: John P. Moriarty & Associates

Lead Designer: Nelson

Civil Engineer: John G. Crowe Associates

Structural Engineer: McNamara/Salvin

MEP Engineer: WB Engineering and Consulting

Submitted by: Nelson

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