RDK Engineers: Brown Brothers Harriman and Co.

Existing building retrofit at an office building.

By RDK Engineers August 14, 2014

Engineering firm: RDK Engineers
2014 MEP Giants rank: 27
Project: Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
Address: Boston, Mass., U.S.
Building type: Office building
Project type: Existing building retrofit
Engineering services: Automation/controls, electrical/power, fire/life safety, HVAC/mechanical, energy/sustainability, plumbing/piping, and other
Project timeline: 6/19/2012 to 10/1/2013


The entire space was considered a mission critical facility that required design of infrastructure so the entire office could be on a backup generator. The space also required design of a full-service cooking kitchen in a high-rise building to accommodate 900 employees. In addition, all MEP systems, controls, and ductwork had to be designed new from scratch on all floors. Finally, the project had to be completed in a tight time frame, an 8-month construction period.


There was not enough space in the building to add an additional generator to back up all the systems in the new space, so an intricate electrical infrastructure was designed where power is diverted by priority to equipment in the event of an outage. To give the client its full-service cooking kitchen, RDK designed an HVAC system to bring make-up air and exhaust up through the building by using an abandoned elevator shaft. Last, the client wanted a floating ceiling. Ductwork and piping was kept as hidden as possible and various fan power boxes were bench tested to find the quietest equipment to ease acoustical concerns.