Bluebird Bio

Somerville, Mass.

Award of Merit

Submitted by: Timberline Construction Corp.

Owner: bluebird bio

Lead Design Firm: Jacobs

General Contractor: Timberline Construction Corp.

MEP Engineer: NV5

Building Owner: Federal Realty Investment Trust

Owner’s Representative: JLL

Constructing a building for gene therapy biotech firm bluebird bio required a collaborative, fast-track approach that allowed for quick decision-making. It is the first life science company to lease space in Assembly Row in Somerville, Mass., where Ford Motor Co. built an assembly plant in 1926. The project is serving as a catalyst for development of a life sciences hub as other developers and biotech firms plan their own facilities.

new “nest” headquarters was designed according to LEED specifications for a post-pandemic environment. Sustainable features include low power density, low water use and green materials. To achieve consistent quality of construction, the team relied on building information modeling, 3D point cloud layout, scanning and integration to create a 3D model.

The team took a proactive approach, securing pre-release packages early to allow construction to progress to completion in just over five months by May 2022 at budget and on schedule.

Despite long material lead times, challenges of working in an occupied building and market fluctuation, the team was able to elicit a quick response from the design team to keep the onsite momentum going. In addition to communicating with project partners, the team says it worked closely with other neighboring tenants, including the athletic apparel firm Puma. It also received additional perspective on construction documents and compliance from the base building contractor on another ongoing project.