Connecticut Innovations Offices – New Haven

A renovated space in a 1950s bus station in New Haven is now the offices of Connecticut Innovations, a workplace to transport the quasi-public venture capital agency into the future.

Amenta Emma Architects were engaged by Connecticut Innovations, a venture capital firm, to design their offices located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Connecticut Innovations enables technology start-ups—including life sciences companies engaged in COVID-19 research—to launch and grow. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, their new 9,000-square-foot headquarters designed by Amenta Emma Architects utilizes glass and roofed “boxes” within a larger envelope to create an open, light-filled environment, with spaces for events, small-team collaborations, and distancing.

Exposed structure, HVAC, brickwork, metal panel ornamentation, and concrete floor staining are contextual with original architecture and provide an edgy industrial aesthetic. At the main entrance, a floor-to-ceiling engraved feature wall houses a screen that allows Connecticut Innovations to showcase its own brand and promote portfolio companies and investor partners.

Designers maximized existing features, which included high ceilings, skylights, and a long southern-facing glazed wall, bathing the interior in light. Use of glass throughout the headquarters and along a central corridor, or “main street,” defines program spaces and allows glimpses of activity. A particular highlight is a large conference room adjacent to the café-lounge. The boardroom’s large sliding glass wall opens to unite the spaces to allow for larger meetings or events.

While the project was designed pre-COVID-19, small offices line the perimeter of the interior, creating a high-ceiling, open environment along with private work spaces. Interior furnishings complement Connecticut Innovations’ brand colors of blue and orange. Countertops and table surfaces are light, bright and easy to clean.

One challenge of repurposing an old bus station included devising ways to incorporate electrical conduits and drains, since the ground slab, which had been encapsulated because of environmental concerns, could not be penetrated. Careful planning was needed to minimize disturbance of the floor slab, while also grouping exposed piping in a visually pleasing manner. Polishing the existing concrete floor, in addition to utilizing existing exposed structure in the ceiling, contributed to sustainability of the project as well. Connecticut Innovations’ headquarters is one of several organizations in District New Haven, a sprawling 105,000-square-foot building in the Elm City.

Design: Amenta Emma Architects
Photography: Robert Benson