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Polaroid Office & Manufacturing Complex

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

In 1965, the Polaroid Corporation commissioned a new office and manufacturing plant outside Boston to expand production of its popular instant-photography camera. The new facility, on a scenic 100-acre property overlooking the Cambridge reservoir, was one of Polaroid’s most distinctive properties.

The sandblasted architectural concrete complex, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, included three linked buildings: a large 3-story manufacturing center (245,000 square feet), a 2-story building for production and offices (116,000 square feet) and, between them, a smaller 3-story building housing the main reception lobby, cafeteria, kitchen and employees’ services. Modern Manufacturing magazine selected the completed project as one of the Ten Top Plants in the United States (1969).

Site plan / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Polaroid’s fortunes waned with the rise of digital technologies in the following decades and, facing bankruptcy, sold the complex in 2000. It has since been radically modified as a suburban shopping center.

In 1969, Polaroid Office and Manufacturing Complex was selected as one of the Top Ten Plants of the Year by Modern Manufacturing magazine and also received a Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Design Team: I.M. Pei, Design Partner; Ralph Heisel, Design Architect
I.M. Pei & Associates