Best Offices Ottawa is a celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region. This year’s edition features top projects and stories from the magazine’s various supporters, including: Burovision, Atkinson Schroeter Design Group, Figurr Architects Collective, J.L. Richards & Associates Limited, MARANT Construction Limited, Kinaxis, Real Strategy Advisors, and iQ Offices, as well as additional editorial content exploring the future of workplaces in the city.
Now is the time for organizations to reimagine, recalibrate and reinvent the way they work and do business. We have the opportunity to shape a workplace landscape that fosters community socialization, team collaboration, and individual focus to create environments where employees choose to be.
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PRESIDENT Michael Curran
A community clinic with flare
HOW ATKINSON SCHROETER DESIGN GROUP CREATED A MODERN, UNIQUE, HIGH-END DENTAL CLINIC IN THE HEART OF BEECHWOOD
When local dentist Dr. Luc Ducharme first saw the ground floor space at 230 Beechwood Ave., he immediately knew it was the perfect location for his growing dental practice.
With large windows wrapping around the exterior of the building and 18-foot open ceilings, the space was not only functional, but reflective of the kind of unique space Ducharme wanted for his clients.
There was only one issue: The space was previously designed for a gym and needed significant changes to create a high-end dental clinic.
Working closely with the team at Atkinson Schroeter Design Group,
Ducharme’s vision for the office was brought to life, transforming the space from a rugged fitness centre into the refined, qualitative dental clinic he was envisioning.
A BALANCE OF OLD AND NEW
Having redesigned his previous dental office spaces, Ducharme came to the table with a clear vision in mind for his new Beechwood clinic.
“I wanted something unique that played up the character of the space,” he said. “But seeing that it’s also a dental office, I needed a very clean, crisp look.”
After meeting with Sonja Schroeter, lead designer and principal at ASDG, the pair clicked immediately and ASDG created a timeless concept that would bridge the origins of the space with Ducharme’s vision of his future clinic.
“The goal was to create a very modern streamlined space,” said Schroeter. “We worked to find a balance between the roughness of the original space and the stylish application of new materials and finishings we were introducing.”
Upon entering the office, guests view an open-concept reception area and friendly staff that feels like a gallery space within a dental clinic.
Exposed ceilings throughout the reception and waiting area, corridors and kitchen reveal black painted ductwork and pipes, which contrast against the clinic’s bright white walls and sliding glass doors.
A large reception desk featuring wood paneling, logo and signage, and modern lights anchors the reception area, while brightly colored chairs of orange, blue and yellow add pops of colour to the office’s neutral palette.
The original concrete walls were kept to maintain the existing character and feel throughout the reception area and exam rooms, and complemented with concrete-looking vinyl tiles, adding a unique touch to the clinic, says Schroeter.
“We very intentionally created a juxtaposition between the unfinished look of the open ceiling and exposed columns and the new sleek lines of the walls and light fixtures,” she said. “The use of warm, natural elements and textured with cool materials create a modern, and minimalistic feel Dr.
Ducharme was also envisioning.”
To add to the uniqueness, and contemporary gallery feel, various pieces of colourful artwork from local artist Dominik Sokolowski are also displayed throughout the clinic space.
“The artist came up with something beautiful and colourful and abstract,” added Ducharme. “Between those eyecatching elements, the black aluminum
door frames, the white walls, the wood and the concrete touches, you get a really good feeling in the space.”
A NEW WAY OF WORKING
Another unique feature of the office is the overall layout.
While a dentist’s personal office is typically towards the back of a clinic, Ducharme’s glass enclosed space is
situated front-of-house, allowing him to welcome and connect with employees and clients upon their arrival –something that was especially important to Ducharme during the planning process.
The hygienist rooms and operatories run parallel to each other down the main hallway, creating a clear visual line from reception to the back of the building. That site line is further accentuated by the frosted glass doors and light bars running parallel to the walls, further mimicking the whiteness and alignment of teeth you come to expect when visiting the dentist, said Schroeter.
The centralized sterilization area features bright white cabinetry, glass walls and plenty of clinical storage.
During the move from his original office space, Ducharme decided to go paperless, negating the need for filing cabinets that take up space.
However, it was critical that each of the areas had ample storage for hygienist tools and the layout complemented their workflow.
“The design of the built-in cabinetry was essential both for the office areas and clinic rooms,” Schroeter added. “It couldn’t just look good aesthetically, it also had to be functional.”
POPS OF COLOUR AND CONCRETE TOUCHES ARE CARRIED THROUGH TO THE OWNER’S OFFICE
COLLABORATION IS KEY
For Ducharme, having great spaces for his staff was as important as having great spaces for his clients.
A modern kitchenette with chestnut-coloured cabinets and black fixtures was designed for his employees enjoyment, while also accommodating a locker area and shower room.
“I want my staff to feel comfortable and happy in the space because that translates into an even better customer experience,” said Ducharme. “I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.”
While the project was a major undertaking, it was made easier by Schroeter’s expertise and her team’s willingness to embrace Ducharme’s vision and eagerness to be involved in every step of the process, he said.
From designing the layout and reviewing construction drawings to showroom tours and final finishing selections, Ducharme worked in tandem with the ASDG team, said Schroeter.
“They really listened to what I wanted and turned my ideas into something viable and beautiful,” he said. “It’s now a space I can be proud of and that makes people who see it stop and take it all in.”
LARGE NUMBERED EXAM ROOMS LINE THE MAIN HALLWAY, CREATING VISUAL INTEREST
BELIEVE IN DOWNTOWNPHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
BUSINESS LEADERS AND POLITICIANS RALLY AROUND DOWNTOWN TO ‘CHANGE THE NARRATIVE’By Caroline Phillips
The future of downtown Ottawa was the focus of a major event earlier this year that was intended to send a powerful message.
Dubbed “Ottawa is Open for Business,” the celebration took place on May 17 in the newly redesigned lobby of Constitution Square.
The place was packed. People ate, drank and connected with one another while soaking up the new and improved space, along with the live music. The energy in the room was so high that it actually became a struggle for speakers to capture the crowd’s undivided attention while delivering their positive-message speeches.
The special event was hosted by Constitution Square and real estate owner and developer Canderel. They partnered that night with the Ottawa Board of Trade, Ottawa Tourism, Invest Ottawa and Shepherds of Good Hope, all of which had representatives out in full force. Constitution Square is a threetower office complex located on Albert Street, in the heart of Ottawa’s financial and downtown district. At just over onemillion-square-feet of rentable office space, Constitution Square is Ottawa’s largest office complex.
Colin Lynch was there on behalf of TD asset management. It’s the majority owner of Constitution Square, with Canderel being the other owner. From Canderel was Shawn Hamilton, vice-MONA FORTIER , MP for Ottawa-Vanier and president of the Treasury Board SUELING CHING , president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade MARK SUTCLIFFE , Mayor of Ottawa YASIR NAQVI , Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre and part of the Downtown Ottawa Revitalization Task Force LISA MACLEOD , Conservative MPP for Nepean
president of business development in the region. He’s also past board president of the BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) Ottawa.
The city’s downtown core, similar to other major cities, is still struggling to find its place in our post-pandemic world. Workers have returned to downtown office spaces with less regularity than some had hoped.
The increased remote-and hybridwork trend has members of the business community — including Hamilton — searching for ways to be leaders and to inspire increased interest and investment in the downtown. “We are slowly returning to a state of normalcy and it is time that we change the narrative of the news coming out of our city and for us to announce, as a community, that Ottawa is open for business,” Hamilton
his supportive audience as
the leaders to “grab the bull by the horns” and “light this city up” in the areas of business, investment, tourism, living, learning and giving.
Hamilton encouraged attendees to seize the momentum created at the Ottawa is Open for Business event. “Believe in your city, invest in your people and your ideas. Support your city and do everything that you can to contribute and build.”
Hamilton was proud to have so many key groups supporting the event. “What I’m really excited about is we’re bringing
everybody together,” he told OBJ.social. “It’s not just one organization or another, it’s all organizations coming together to celebrate Ottawa.”
The main lobby of Constitution Square, which spans a city block, recently underwent a roughly $9-million transformation to create more warmth, comfort and brightness while also redefining the relationship between life and work. The renovation work was done by Ottawa-based companies Linebox Studio and M.P. Lundy Construction.
There were representatives there from all three levels of government, including: Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Ottawa MP and Treasury Broad President Mona Fortier
and her colleague Yasir Naqvi, and Ottawa MPP Lisa MacLeod.
Among the attendees impressed by the event was Adam Zaret, vicepresident of Gemstone Corporation, a family-owned Ottawa real estate and construction firm.
“Kudos to Shawn and his team for organizing this because our city needs it,” he told OBJ.social. “The downtown has been quiet but we’re a G7 capital. It will be nice to see the feds really continue to make a strong move back into the offices and, hopefully, that will re-invigorate or renew interest in living, working and socializing downtown again. Otherwise, it’s going to be slow.”
WE ARE SLOWLY RETURNING TO A STATE OF NORMALCY AND IT IS TIME THAT WE CHANGE THE NARRATIVE OF THE NEWS COMING OUT OF OUR CITY AND FOR US TO ANNOUNCE, AS A COMMUNITY, THAT OTTAWA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.From left, Stéphanie Montreuil, senior director of communications and public affairs for the Ottawa Board of Trade, with Bruce Raganold, director of business development for Welch LLP, Lori Henderson, commercial relationship manager at Scotiabank, and Jennifer Cross, business development manager at MARANT Construction. From left, Louis Karam, managing director of CBRE’s Ottawa office, with Dean Karakasis, executive director of BOMA (Building Owners & Managers Association), Ashley Hopkins, CEO of Paradigm Properties, and Candice Lerner-Fry from Marcus & Millichap. From left, Sean Lundy, president and CEO of M.P. Lundy Construction, with Shawn Hamilton, vice president of business development for Canderel.
Caivan’s custom office built to precision
HOW THE TEAM WORKED COLLABORATIVELY WITH FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE TO CREATE AN INSPIRING NEW SPACE
When the Caivan team was introduced to Figurr Architects Collective and its portfolio, partnering on the new Ottawa headquarters, sales and design centre and manufacturing plant in the south of the city was the obvious choice.
It’s a big reason why Figurr Architects Collective was brought in by construction manager BBS Construction. Collaboratively, they designed the new headquarters and manufacturing plant for Caivan and its subsidiary organization, the Advanced Building Innovation Company (ABIC).
“Caivan and ABIC wanted an
interpretive-centre experience,” explains architect and head of Figurr’s Ottawa office, Roberto Campos. “And they wanted to make sure the architecture team understood what was needed to create an immersive visitor experience.”
As a frequent designer of institutional projects with big open spaces that prefers to collaborate closely with its clients, Campos says Figurr was uniquely positioned to take on the project, which finished this past January.
A THREE-PRONGED CONSTRUCTION INITIATIVE
Caivan’s new office project consisted of
two phases: A manufacturing plant (built first), and Caivan’s head office and design centre (phase two), all linked by a bright and spacious town hall-style atrium.
The ABIC manufacturing plant assembles high-quality, precise, and sustainable prefabricated housing panel systems for Caivan homes across the province – mostly in the form of prefabricated panels that are more quickly and sustainably assembled on-site.
The design centre will provide educational material and visible access to the manufacturing plant to help visitors learn about the ABIC manufacturing process and the Caivan values as an integrated land developer and homebuilder. It includes a mezzanine facing the manufacturing plant, where future homeowners can gaze down on the manufacturing process – and maybe even see their own home being fabricated.
The town hall atrium seamlessly connects the entire facility. It features a stunning combination of rich mass timber, structural steel columns supporting incredibly high ceilings, an institutionalgrade polished concrete wall, and a large south-facing curtain wall that bathes the entire space in invigorating natural light.
Designing such a complex project, however, wasn’t easy.
Campos says part of the challenge was
WOOD BEAMS AND ACCENTS ARE INCORPORATED THROUGHOUT THE SPACE TO REFLECT THE COMPANY’S DEDICATION TO BUILDING HOMESPHOTOS
creating a facility that works well for all its visitors, from administrative staff to plant workers to prospective homebuyers.
“We had to really look at how all of that was going to work together so we could provide a good experience to everybody who either works at the building or visits the building, and so they all feel like they’re part of the same team,” he explains.
“And ultimately, that was where the town hall atrium became the link between these programs.”
KEY TO THE PROJECT: CLOSE COLLABORATION
Campos says none of it would have been possible without such close collaboration with Caivan – a company that happens to know a thing or two about building design and construction. “The ownership group was heavily invested in what they wanted,” he says.
That added up to hours of meetings and back-and-forth to share ideas and whittle away at concepts to carve out a solid plan, including sharing and reviewing
PRECISION WAS KEY TO OBTAINING THE SLEEK LINES AND MINIMALISTIC FEEL
precedent imagery, concept sketches and conducting lengthy charrette sessions.
Both teams used a private Pinterest account to upload images and ideas at any time of the day or night. He and his team would often go to bed with ten or so recommendations in the account, Campos explains, and wake up the next day with a few dozen more ideas contributed by Caivan’s team.
That helped the Figurr team determine what ideas Caivan didn’t like and which to focus on.
“And even then, we would still throw in things just to, at the end of the day, try to grab some kind of reaction,” he says.
“It was really important that everything that ultimately came out of this project was reflective of Caivan’s identity and their brand as an organization,” Campos adds. “And so, it was important that they stayed involved throughout the process.”
LINKING CAIVAN’S BUSINESS WITH ITS OFFICE SPACE
Much of that brand revolves around highquality, ultra-precise construction materials and methods – and the spirit of that is reflected in the entire facility, Campos says, particularly the town hall atrium.
This sense was reflected in how the facility was built, with everything lasered before drilling or fastening to ensure perfect precision. All tradespeople who worked on the job had to buy into the vision, the sense of precision, attention to detail – not always an easy task – and custom work.
“Take those steel columns in the town hall atrium – they’re all custommade. There are no off-the-shelf pieces. They were all made from flat-stock steel. They’re designed to be very minimal but, at the same time, to be very functional because they’re hollowed out. And within the hollowing is where they run conduit lines for electrical support, lighting, sound equipment, and other needs.
“So it was this combination of: How do we look at sophisticated, precise material – like steel working together with this incredibly warm wood in a very precise way? And that’s actually very similar to what Caivan does as a business.”
Through collaboration, patience and design skills, this project clearly reflects Caivan/ABIC’s vision and identity, and sets them on a path for success far into the future.
THE CLEAN, MODERN DESIGN IS ALSO CARRIED THROUGH ON THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING AND COURTYARD AREA
Where inspiration meets productivity.
Why human interaction matters now more than everBY KANE WILLMOTT CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF IQ OFFICES
The professional landscape has forever shifted following the cataclysmic shake-up caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And as the dust settles, it’s only now becoming evident exactly how much has changed.
One of the biggest things that have become apparent is that a hybrid work model, which offers a balance between working from home and working in an office, is poised to become the status quo.
But as a result, connectedness and human interaction will become more vital than ever before, and the strongest teams will prioritize it accordingly.
What does the future hold for the working world?
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what we can expect to see as the new norm in the working world, some clear indicators are coming to light.
As reported by Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work Report:
• 97 per cent of people indicated they would like to work remotely, at least part of the time, for the rest of their careers
• 61 per cent of people described their remote working experience as very positive with a cumulative 10 per cent indicating it was either neutral (9 per cent), somewhat negative (1 per cent), or negative (0 per cent)
And, for those who wish to continue working remotely in some capacity for the foreseeable future, the benefits they cite include:
• Flexibility in how they spend their time, where they choose to live, and where they work
• More free time on account of a reduced commute
• The ability to better focus on their work
Remote work has, in many cases, been conducive to higher morale and better work-life balance.
And it’s not just professional satisfaction that’s stayed high–by and large, productivity remained steady among remote workers and, in many cases, even increased.
But while the majority of people want to maintain some level of remote work, nearly 60 per cent of people also want to return to the office on a part-time basis.
This is likely because, despite the overwhelmingly positive reception to remote and hybrid work, it’s not without its challenges.
Studies have found that many remote workers felt disproportionately isolated from others and believed working from home was negatively impacting their ability to build relationships and sustain social connections–both at work and outside of it.
So, with hybrid work poised to become even more common and viable, finding ways to mitigate these challenges will be crucial to making it a success.
And the workplace is a key place to start.
The redefined role of the workplace in a hybrid environment
As hybrid work becomes more prominent, one of the most interesting questions has been what role the office will play in the professional landscape going forward.
And the answer seems to boil down to a reevaluation and redefinition of how and why the office is used.
With employees having the ability to work remotely, we can expect to see a rise in “shift work” in the office.
Instead of having every team member in the office every day, it’s likely that employees will come in a few days a
week, either as it suits them or as agreed upon with employers.
Purpose vs. stipulation
Rather than somewhere employees are mandated to be for eight hours per day, five days per week, we can expect the office to take on the role of a purposedriven place that people can attend when and how they need it.
In a hybrid work environment, workers will come to the office when they:
• Need a dedicated space to collaborate with colleagues
• Want to get out of their home offices and into a professional environment
• Desire the social element of their jobs that they lack at home
This dynamic will drastically change people’s relationships with their office, making it a tool that empowers their success rather than somewhere that feels like a burden.
In the new normal, the office has the opportunity to become a place where people want to be rather than one where they’re forced to be.
Organizations will be able to use their workspaces as places that address the common challenges of remote work and even help improve their employees’ overall satisfaction and well-being.
The importance of connectedness and human interaction for hybrid workers
The rise of hybrid work has changed how teams collaborate and connect with one another. But, most importantly, it has changed the way workers feel on a daily basis.
Ultimately, humans are social beings. And a lack of social interaction takes a significant toll on people’s overall wellbeing.
That’s why connectedness and human interaction are more vital than ever before.
Hybrid workers need to prioritize regular interactions with their colleagues, coworkers, and managers. Not only does cultivating genuine relationships at work enhance professional performance, it’s also a critical component in people’s overall well-being.
7 reasons why enterprise organizations are letting go of traditional leases and opting for serviced officesBY KANE WILLMOTT CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF IQ OFFICES
The typical office looks a lot different now than it did five years ago. Today, it’s still essential to many businesses—but with one significant change: it’s not just about where you work anymore, but how you work and how your place of work can be an asset to your organization.
This has supercharged the rise of serviced offices. They offer enterprise companies an alternative to the traditional coworking model by fusing the spirit of flexibility, community, service, and shared amenities with the sophistication and infrastructure of a traditional office space.
1. Operational efficiency
Uncertainty has been the only constant in the past few years. For enterprise organizations, it’s challenging to plan for a year from now—let alone five or more.
As a result, these organizations are prioritizing operational efficiency, and it’s extending to their demands of their workspaces.
Overarchingly, they’re seeking reduced liability, the ability to adapt and scale their workspace to meet their evolving teams, and opportunities for market expansion.
And, unlike traditional leases which lock organizations into long commitments with inflexible terms, serviced offices align with their desire to stay nimble.
With 900 million square feet of
leases set to expire by 2025, many enterprise organizations have the opportunity to contemplate their next workspace move.
And when seeking a new headquarters for their business, the leaders of these organizations are coming to terms with the staggering cost of making a misstep with their leases.
When faced with this dilemma, turnkey solutions are becoming an increasingly attractive option, and serviced offices fit the bill.
Unlike traditional offices, serviced offices eliminate the need for furnishing, fit-outs, and set-up of essential office infrastructure.
The leaders of these organizations can sign a serviced office license agreement and have their team working in their new office within a matter of days—not weeks or months.
3. Hospitality-driven support
In the same vein as the appeal of turnkey ease-of-use, the hospitality-focused nature of serviced offices adds another dimension of convenience for enterprise organizations.
Rather than hiring staff for administrative tasks like reception, office manager and IT, serviced offices have all of this essential support built-in—with the costs shared among multiple organizations.
4. Community and collaboration
Isolation is one of the most significant company culture challenges presented by remote work. Community and collaboration are essential for employees.
And, even in a traditional office environment, these benefits are limited to immediate teams since they provide private workspaces for organizations with little to no amenities outside the office. Serviced offices provide the same degree of privacy for organizations while offering events and opportunities for interpersonal communication, networking, and potential business collaboration.
5. Elevated amenities
In a traditional office environment, organizations could have amenities like meeting and conference rooms and kitchens—but they would belong exclusively to those organizations and their rent would be priced accordingly.
With serviced offices, organizations have the option to choose spec suites that include these amenities—but it’s not mandated. But they can also take on a private suite with shared access to those core amenities without having to cover the full cost of these spaces when they aren’t in use.
Beyond those core amenities, though, serviced offices also often offer other shared amenities like fitness facilities and wellness centers, event spaces, and food and beverage offerings that can create a better experience for employees and clients.
Modern enterprise organizations prioritize optimal use of capital and, compared to traditional office leases, serviced offices undoubtedly have the upper hand when it comes to capital expenditures.
This includes economies of scale on essential office services as well as reduced upfront costs for furnishing, build-outs, technology, deposits, and more.
But it also allows organizations to easily operate on a hybrid work model, taking on a workspace that accommodates a percentage of their staff at any given time without paying for a large-scale workspace with low occupancy levels—and reducing overhead costs accordingly.
7. Diverse workspace options
Throughout the pandemic when employees around the world were forced to work from home, they became accustomed to working when and how they were able to operate at their best.
This could include starting their day at their desks, heading outside for some fresh air at lunch time, then sitting on the couch while wrapping up administrative tasks.
Traditional offices often limit employees’ workspace options to their desks—and this isn’t conducive to optimal productivity or employee satisfaction.
On the other hand, serviced offices offer a diverse area of members-only workspaces options, meaning employees can choose to visit an outdoor patio, relax in the lounge, work at their desks, or take confidential calls in private spaces as they need to, all while being connected to their private network.
For many enterprise companies, finding a workspace that works for their team and aligns with their business objectives is a high priority.
A team driven design
JLR EMPLOYEES PAY HOMAGE TO DECADES OF WORK WITH A NEW, SUSTAINABLE SPACE
For more than 60 years, the team of engineers, architects and planners at J.L. Richards & Associates Limited has helped clients of all sizes and sectors bring their projects to life – all from the company’s headquarters in the Carlington neighbourhood.
During the pandemic however, the team took on a significant office redesign project that got the entire company involved: Its own.
While the multidisciplinary firm had initially planned to build a new fivestorey building to house JLR’s Ottawa team – which at the time was spread out across three locations – the quickchanging needs of a hybrid workstyle
A MODERN LOBBY GREETS GUESTS, FEATURING A SLEEK AND MODERN DESIGN
presented a new opportunity.
Instead, the employee-owned company re-evaluated its plans and relocated the entire team to Little Italy after overhauling the ninth and tenth floor at 343 Preston St.
“The pandemic allowed us to pause and see if our plans still made sense for this new world of work,” said René Lambert, vice-president of JLR. “I think what we’ve done is smart, sustainable, and lets us invest in our future.”
Operating as owner, architect, designer, engineer and tenant, the JLR team worked together to create a custom-built space that supported how employees want to work, and also positioned the company to put a new foot forward in the organization’s history.
RETHINKING THE LAYOUT
One of the most striking things about JLR’s new office space is the layout.
In the center of the building is the elevator bay and washroom access, while the working areas outline the perimeter in an infinite loop.
“It’s almost like a racetrack,” says Sébastien Racine, senior architect at JLR and project manager on the office redesign.
The architecture of the space could have posed a challenge, he mentioned, with 45 degree angle corners featured throughout. Instead, it became an element the team used to their advantage and adapted into little alcoves to create more usable space.
“We decided to lean into that structure to help develop the office and create a unique design and layout that was specific to this building,” he adds.
By positioning the work stations around the exterior of the office, it also allowed the team to capitalize on the natural light and views from the various windows, moving away from the traditional closed offices featured in their previous building.
Instead, there is balance throughout, with about half of the office having openconcept working areas while the other half is enclosed. Areas like the large kitchen featuring comfy seating remain a fixture and offer meeting space for the wider team.
A SPACE FOR EVERYONE
Despite covering two floors of The Adobe Tower, JLR’s new office space feels cohesive
and connected, with each floor using different colours to help with wayfinding.
An eye-catching black staircase is also prominently placed, connecting the two levels, which was an important piece of the design, says Patrick Gehling, lead designer and assistant project manager on the project.
“We had to think carefully about how people would flow between the spaces and make sure that it still felt like one environment,” said Gehling. “While it was probably the last element we added to the space, it’s one that made a major difference.”
Like many other companies, JLR has also adopted a hybrid, activity based work style. This allows team members to work from home up to 40 per cent of their work week, while providing various work stations in the office depending on the task at hand – a key decision that allowed the company to move to a more sustainable office space.
Employees can reserve a workspace, board room or private office using an app, which creates equality between employees, says Kristin McCartney, human resources manager.
“There are no hierarchies when the president himself must also book a space and work from the same desks as the rest of the team,” she says. “I think the cornerstone of a design like this is to promote and foster the well being of our employees using the space, and inclusivity is a key part of that.”
BUILDING IN COMPANY VALUES
Amidst the move to a new building, JLR’s team also took a closer
THE JLR TEAM ENSURED EVERY INCH OF THE OFFICE WAS SERVING A PURPOSE – INCLUDING CORNER ALCOVES AND PLENTY OF STORAGE FOR THE GROWING TEAM
look at how it would make the office more collaborative, as well as sustainable.
The new office helps reduce JLR’s carbon footprint by moving to activitybased/hybrid work, less floor area is required which reduces the office’s energy consumption, and retrofitting an existing office space reduces the embodied carbon that would have been required to construct a new office building. As well, employees can reduce their own carbon footprints through access to secure indoor bike storage, showers/change rooms, public transit, dedicated EV charging parking spots, and remote work.
The company is now using a paperlight model, limiting its printing and moving many of its processes over to digital, which has significantly reduced its overall printing costs. And with a hybrid team, many employees have reduced their commuting by 30 to 40 per cent.
An appreciation for sustainability was also carried throughout the design, with a big focus on biophilia, or the incorporation of natural elements into the office. Plants are featured throughout, which is a nice complement to the various waterways and greenspaces nearby in the neighborhood, says McCartney.
The company has also found unique ways to pay homage to its own history and the city it calls home.
In the reception area they have a display case with trinkets from the company’s decades in business, and in certain areas, big prints on the walls featuring photos of their own projects.
“Some of our offices are named after our previous Ottawa buildings, or of popular local landmarks like Rideau or Byward,” she adds. “For us, it was a really nice way to recognize the city that our team is helping to build as engineers, architects, and planners.”
As JLR begins its second year in its Preston Street office, the team remains excited both about the future and the opportunities for growth.
And with an office built with flexibility in mind, the company is well positioned to adapt with the times, says Lambert.
“We’ve got the right facilities, the right technology and the right people to make this a great place to work,” he adds. “The investments that we’re making into the future aren’t just paying dividends now, they’ll continue to do so decades down the road.”
THE OFFICE WAS DESIGNED TO CAPITALIZE ON NATURAL LIGHT, WITH WORK AREAS NEXT TO THE WINDOWS THROUGHOUT THE SPACE
WORK IS DEAD; LONG LIVE ‘PEOPLING’By Darren Fleming
Imagine walking into the office, the glass doors opening to reveal a colourful, inviting reception area lush with couches, chairs, and coffeetables. You catch the eye of a couple of your colleagues seated at one of the gathering areas. You can smell the dark roast coffee, emanating from the café nearby. Someone steams a latte. You stride into the main office space beyond, golden rays of sun wash through the floor to ceiling windows, lacing everything with a beautiful, shimmering glow. You hear the buzz, and it strikes you: it’s this buzz that you’ve been missing for the past three years while at home by yourself.
It’s not difficult to see why, to some, the home office has become more desirable than the traditional office. On the surface working from home is comfortable, quiet, and immediate. It looks like the perfect place for working in the digital age. However, for many of us something is missing: people. Spaces that attract people are stimulating and human centered. Laptops, café-culture, and COVID all contributed in their own way to the decline of the traditional office as ‘the place where I do my work’. Since it can be done anywhere, it remains that the office is where people come to engage with their colleagues, to share ideas, and be a part of something. Activity-based workplaces, spaces made up of a palette of zones for facilitating productivity and interaction, are particularly effective at bringing people into the office and supporting them while they are there.
Traditionally, going to work used to be associated with a drudge-like existence chained to a desk. It was where we would do all our work which, for many of us, consisted mostly of heads-down typing, writing, or reading. It was our 40-60 hour per week second home. Now, those types of activities don’t need a central physical space as an anchor; most of that work can be done anywhere and our employees demand better. The old reality of working in an office is dead. Suddenly we have a chance to re-envision the purpose of ‘going to work’. What is our purpose in going there at all? If it is a space where we go not just to do heads-down tasks, then instead it must be for a combination of social & inperson tasks, meetings and interactions or, more informally, ‘peopling’.
Regardless of the space, however, people yearn to feel supported. Mental-health awareness has come into extreme focus as the whole world experienced COVID-19. It’s understandable then, that a population isolated for three years would place a high value on in-person social interaction. When asked what they want out of their office, we often hear from our clients that face-to-face interaction is extremely important for celebrating, connecting, and clearing blockages in communications. There is a different quality of energy transfer when people meet in person that cannot be replicated though the formal context of a screen. It’s a primal human experience.
Offices are worth coming back to, but just not for the same-old work. While head-down tasks can be done anywhere, the ‘coming-together’ of workplace communities can only happen at a central, physical location: the office. For the past three years you’ve been sitting at home by yourself, missing the buzz. The buzz is back and it’s coming from the office. Let’s be intentional when we bring people back to the office and create a space of supporting, collaborating, and peopling.
Whether you’re familiar with our Book of Lists or new to our publications, the rankings of Ottawa’s most impressive office spaces are a must-read for anyone interested in the city’s business infrastructure.
A TELESCOPIC GLASS WALL CREATES AN OPEN CONCEPT
A new regional office built by longtime partners
MARANT AND ARCADIS IBI GROUP COLLABORATE ON AN OPEN –YET INTIMATE – OFFICE SPACE ON PRESTON STREET
General contractor MARANT Construction and interior design firm Arcadis IBI Group have collaborated on several high-end office fit-ups in the past. So when the latter decided it needed a new local office space on Preston Street to reflect the evolving needs of a hybrid workspace, collaborating on the project was a natural fit.
“We’ve worked with MARANT on quite a few projects,” confirms Arcadis IBI Group’s Jessica Gozdzierski, the project’s lead designer, who works out of the company’s Toronto office. “There’s definitely more trust working
with a general contractor you’ve worked with in the past. Having those positive experiences was a great thing to have going into this project.”
COLLABORATING ON A WORLDCLASS OFFICE SPACE
MARANT Construction project manager Heidi Pershick, who led the project for the general contractor, agrees. “Our business was built on building longterm relationships,” she says. “Our founders have done several projects with Arcadis IBI Group in Toronto and built that relationship, so they trusted us to actually do their own office.”
While Arcadis IBI Group handled the design element, MARANT supervised and ensured the highest quality build.
“Having the opportunity to construct the offices of our industry partners is such an honour. In the case of this project, it was especially rewarding working with Arcadis IBI Group, a technology-driven design firm with global architecture, engineering, planning and technology expertise, to bring their vision for their own space to life,” says Jennifer Cross, business development manager NCR at MARANT.
“Arcadis IBI Group’s office is a reflection of their core genius, creativity
and attention to detail and is the cornerstone of their own portfolio so we were all delighted to be a part of this exciting project.”
The 10,000-plus sq. ft. fit-up took around five months and involved a full-floor demolition and redo of the floor plate. That meant first tearing down existing partitions and walls, removing the old electrical system, relocating existing mechanical systems such as variable air volume (VAV) units, and other demolition activities.
From there, it was a matter of floor leveling, adding a structural beam and analyzing weight loads, framing, re-doing the electrical and A/V wiring, redoing ductwork, and adding sound mitigation such as baffling panels to the ceilings.
The companies were careful to reuse older infrastructure where possible, including reusing older duct work –“very smart in terms of costs,” Pershick says – and coring sleeves around the floor’s electrical room.
And while much of the infrastructure is of the kind that hardly any tenants
will see or even notice, it’s essential for a well-functioning office space.
“All the infrastructure that nobody sees has got to be in first,” says Pershick. “You can have a beautiful space, but if your zones aren’t set up properly in terms of temperature and air quality, it’s not comfortable or usable.”
AN OPEN AND COLLABORATIVE SPACE
Arcadis IBI Group’s new space was designed with openness and natural light in mind, says designer Gozdzierski, to promote collaboration, teamwork, and to reflect the new reality of hybrid work.
“We wanted to approach this with a fresh, modern design,” she explains. “Something that would provide the Ottawa office with different ways to more easily come together and collaborate.”
The space features a combination of individual workspaces, small and large meeting rooms, and smaller booths and enclaves where anyone can work or meet without worrying about assigned seating. “But we also wanted to inject
some collaborative seating areas, where it’s more about being comfortable in a lounge-style setting,” Gozdzierski says.
That means many of the office’s gathering areas feature plush sofas, with walls adorned with fashionable lighting sconces for a seamless flow through the entire space. The cafe and servery are completely open, providing a natural gravitational pull for employees wanting to come together, grab a coffee, and collaborate with colleagues.
The main boardroom’s telescopic glass wall – imported from Italy and able to contract or expand on demand – opens onto the cafe, allowing the company to let the boardroom spill out into the cafe to create a much larger area to host events.
And while the office’s ceilings are mostly open and completely exposed, Gozdzierski says the sound mitigation elements that were added double as a design feature. “In the cafe space we incorporated a suspended felt baffle that not only looks great, but also absorbs sound. And then in the meeting rooms we
used fabric acoustic panels in the ceiling.”
Gozdzierski says open-concept offices are currently popular with many companies, but every project is different and the design of a particular space ultimately rests on the end user’s needs.
“As interior designers, we have to do our due diligence and ensure we design a space for the end user,” she says. “If the end user doesn’t collaborate much, they don’t need these kinds of spaces.”
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FOR AN ON-TIME DELIVERY
Designing and constructing an elegant,
functional, move-in ready office space is never without challenges, however. Aside from learning the specific nuances of the building and dealing with postpandemic supply-chain issues, these companies also dealt with a drywallers’ strike that ate into the project’s schedule.
Considering Arcadis IBI Group had a set schedule to move out of their previous space and occupy the new one – and that the project was at the drywalling stage when the strike happened – the work action and its accompanying delay had serious implications.
Pershick, however, says MARANT was able to adjust the sequence of operations on the fly to accommodate this reality and keep things moving forward. “That way, at least we could get some sort of movement in other areas and other divisions on site, instead of the whole project coming to a halt,” she explains.
“And we always kept the client up to date, and found a way to push through. That’s why we’re construction managers –it’s our job to find resolutions to problems.”
A MIX OF INDIVIDUAL AND ENCLOSED GROUP WORK SPACES ARE FEATURED THROUGHOUT
We wanted to approach this with a fresh, modern design.
Developers up their game in the name of
construction, while operational carbon is emissions from everyday use, including heating and electricity.
When it comes to reducing operational carbon, sustainability-focused developers have two main priorities: higher-performing envelopes (building facades that lessen heat transfer in both directions, thereby reducing heating and cooling needs), and tapping into renewable energy sources. This is
SUSTAINABILITYBy Mia Jensen
As Canadian policy-makers across all levels of government search for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, major developers working on projects in Ottawa are taking the lead in the building industry.
According to a recent report from the World Green Building Council, buildings are one of the most overlooked carbon emitters, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of global carbon emissions. Retrofitting existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency is a primary goal of the federal government when it comes to meeting its net-zero targets.
While developers and real estate investors are well positioned to play an essential role in fighting climate change, attitudes across the industry have been slow to change, according to Jamie Gray-Donald, senior vice-president of sustainability at QuadReal Property Group.
“I think most developers are still pursuing a business-as-usual approach,” he said. “Everyone, including architects (and) mechanical engineers, are used to doing buildings a certain way. So that’s just the norm.”
As one of several global development companies working on projects in Ottawa with sustainability at the forefront, QuadReal is undertaking a major renovation of the World Exchange Plaza, its downtown office and retail complex at the corner of Metcalfe and O’Connor streets. First built in 1991, the property is one of many that will be modernized not only for functionality and aesthetic, but also for energy efficiency, said Gray-Donald.
The redesign is expected to bring the property up to LEED Platinum standard, the highest certification awarded for sustainability by the Canada Green Building Council.
“What we want to do with our buildings is try and take them to the highest standard,” he said. “This team in particular is very strong at achieving excellent results. In general, we’re strong supporters of green certification, but you can’t stop there. We think net-zero is the next level that needs to be achieved.”
By 2030, 75 per cent of buildings will be ones that already exist today, rather than new construction. When it comes to updating existing properties to meet emissions targets, Gray-Donald said QuadReal wants to be a leader among real estate investors.
In October, the company announced its plans to decarbonize its entire portfolio by 2050. That includes a 50-percent carbon reduction of its Canadian portfolio by 2030 and net-zero emissions for all office buildings globally by 2040.
“We can typically get to be 30 to 40 per cent more energy efficient, but the focus is now shifting to carbon efficiency,” Gray-Donald said. “We look at the lifecycle of major pieces of equipment and buildings and understand when they would typically be replaced. How do we create a roadmap to 2040 to have these buildings be zero-carbon?”
When it comes to buildings, carbon emissions are divided into two primary categories: embodied carbon and operational carbon.
Embodied carbon is attributed to emissions that occur due to the production and transportation of materials, as well as
something that retrofit projects and new developments can achieve.
In Ottawa, a proposed mixed-use sustainable community in LeBreton Flats is building sustainability into its design.
Dream LeBreton is intended to be the first development built into the National Capital Commision’s LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan. The 2.5-acre Library Parcel site will become home to two residential towers with 601 rental units. Operated in partnership with the MultiFaith Housing Initiative, 41 per cent of those units will be affordable.
The project is pursuing a number
of sustainability targets, prioritizing a high-performance building envelope, solar panels and regionally sourced, sustainable materials.
While energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the development, the developers are careful to say that they’re striving for “very close to zero operation carbon” and “low-embodied carbon.”
Local architecture firm Perkins&Will is one of the leading companies for the development. According to global design principal Peter Busby, the specific language stems from the fact that it isn’t really possible to achieve zero carbon right now.
“Generally speaking, electricity across Canada has different carbon footprints,” he said. “So this is an all-electric building, but the carbon footprint does exist. We can’t say zero.”
Achieving net-zero carbon is most difficult in provinces like Alberta and Nova Scotia, which still rely heavily on natural gas and coal to power their electrical grids. But provinces such as Manitoba and Quebec run entirely on hydro electricity, meaning their grid is carbon-free.
Ontario is somewhere in the middle. Approximately 59 per cent of electricity generation in the province is driven by uranium, 24 per cent by hydro, and seven per cent by wind.
“Depending on where you are on the grid, it’s somewhere between eight and 17 per cent fossil-fuel driven, so the carbon footprint does exist,” said Busby.
While the electricity grid is out of their control, the LeBreton project architects hold the reins on everything else.
“There are no fossil fuels being used in this building,” said Busby. “There’s no gas fireplaces, there are no gas appliances, there’s no gas boiler in the buildings; everything is electric.”
They’re also reducing embodied carbon with designs that limit carbon-heavy materials like concrete and by bringing in more sustainable options like wood.
“We’ve absolutely minimized the amount of concrete that we’re using,” said Busby. “We will use low carbon concrete and we do use non-concrete finishes wherever we can. We also looked at carpet and glazing and aluminum, for example.”
When Justin Robitaille talks about the LeBreton development, he is most keen to discuss plans to implement an innovative sewer heat recovery system right into the property.
Robitaille is vice-president of development for Dream Unlimited, another of the principal companies overseeing the project.
Dream has set its sustainability ambitions high. Based on current designs, the completed buildings are set to be operationally net-zero carbon, LEED Gold certified, and One Planet Living Accredited. But the cost of reaching these targets can be high. According to
Robitaille, the two-building development on the 2.5 acre parcel currently has a price tag of over $300 million.
The sewer heat recovery system will be one of the major investments.
“(The system) involves tapping into the sewer line beneath the site as an energy source to provide all heating, air conditioning and domestic hot water needs for the buildings on a zero-carbon basis,” he said.
TAPPING INTO THE SEWER SYSTEM
These systems have found success in other developments across Canada. In Burnaby, B.C., Canadian-based company SHARC International Systems installed a system in several local buildings, including a 172-unit condominium complex. Depending on the size of the building, the system can cost anywhere from $200,000 to more than $1 million.
The LeBreton property will have the central plant built into the development itself. Utilizing heat recovery chillers and heat pumps connected to the city sewer system, the system will be able to produce enough energy to heat and power most of the building.
To offset the demand on the building’s heating and electrical system, designers are also looking to integrate additional sources of renewable energy, like solar.
The design integrates solar photovoltaic panels into the facade of the building. The positioning of the two buildings, offset from each other and oriented at different angles, is meant not only to maximize the view for both buildings, but also to reduce the amount of shade throughout the day to optimize sunlight-harvesting potential.
“We really tried to optimize the design for solar power generation through placing panels on juliet balconies for instance — which would minimize solar shading — and the orientation of panels to maximize solar availability.”
In the 40 years Busby at Perkins&Will has worked in Canadian architecture, high-cost investments in sustainable technology have been a tough sell. But that’s changing.
“Developers across the country now are really getting it and want to do low carbon,” Busby said. “They see climate change as a threat to their business.”
An office built for the future
NEW KINAXIS BUILDING STRIKES A CHORD WITH EMPLOYEES
In the age of hybrid work, having an office that gets employees excited about coming in truly makes all the difference.
Just ask the team at Kinaxis.
In 2022, the company opened the doors to its brand-new global headquarters in Kanata, a purpose-built 160,000 square-foot building designed with employees in mind.
While the initial catalyst for the new building was the company’s increasing headcount, when the pandemic hit in 2020, a new opportunity arose to start designing an office that would meet the needs of employees both today, and into the future.
“Coming out of COVID there was a point where a lot of us probably thought, ‘I want to work from home forever,’” says Kinaxis internal communications specialist Holly Norman. “I think this office has changed things for a lot of reasons, one being that it’s just a great space.”
From the moment you walk through the main doors of the new Kinaxis building, you know you are somewhere special. A bright, modern lobby greets visitors, while funky, geometric silver chairs dot the main foyer.
While the space feels contemporary, it’s also welcoming and comfortable – a feeling that is carried throughout the entire building.
Many of the spaces, much like the exterior, feature strong contrasting colours and natural materials. Deep, lush greenery is layered over bright wood panels, while matte black walls bring the grey and white furniture to life.
“We really wanted this new space to be modern, open and fresh, with cool spaces for employees without being kitschy,” says Megan Paterson, COO at Kinaxis. “I think we’ve really
hit that well. Our headquarters reflects our values, who we are, and what we’re about.”
Employee comfort was key to the office redesign and was carefully incorporated into the various types of workstations throughout the building, as well as the automatic sensor blinds and LED lighting.
Each floor has a coffee area for hanging out or impromptu meet-ups, while phone booths, private workrooms, low-stimulation rooms and comfortable open-air seating are available to suit different work-style preferences.
Special accessible spaces were also incorporated into the redesign, such as two multi-faith prayer rooms, a parents’ room and a games room to make the back-to-work transition easier for staff.
The building is designed to foster innovative thinking and provide spaces for equal parts collaboration and quiet contemplation, says Paterson, adding that the new office also acts as a headquarters for all Kinaxis employees, hosting regular visits from staff from other locations.
STRIKING A CHORD WITH EMPLOYEES
Kinaxis is also a place where creativity is as prominent as technology.
One of the most striking things about the walls of Kinaxis is the art. Thanks to a program through the Canada Council Art Bank, some of the country’s top artists are on display.
The rotation of fresh art is inspiring, Paterson says, and is a real focal point in the space.
“I love that we highlight Canadian artists,” she says. “This is our headquarters. We are a global company, but we’re Canadian first. I’m so proud when I walk in, and I see these beautiful pieces of art that remind us of that.”
The new office building also reflects a deep passion for the company, as well as of CEO John Sicard: Music.
An accomplished musician himself, the company’s new space has a musical theme that carries through from special decor touches to the names of meeting rooms.
The Hive, a modern take on the “lunchroom” is an expansive space, featuring a beautifully lit stage, with top-of-the-line audio and broadcast equipment. Monthly, Kinaxis welcomes live performers to the space for their InConcert series – in partnership with the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC) – and hosted Canadian icons Blue Rodeo for their office opening.
The Hive’s stage is also home to employee band concerts, where Sicard will often perform with them.
WELLNESS AT WORK
While employee work habits were an important consideration during the redesign, health and wellness were also a top priority.
The new building offers a top-ofthe-line fitness centre with a Fitness & Nutrition Specialist for employees to reach their personal fitness goals. The centre includes a cycling studio, full weight room, cardio equipment and a dedicated space for daily group classes delivered by certified instructors. They also offer virtual yoga and stretch classes for remote employees as well as a variety of fitness challenges to add excitement, inspire and motivate all employees to exercise and stay active.
In 2023, they expanded the fitness offerings to Chennai, India and recently to Rotterdam, Amsterdam.
With a big focus on health and wellness, the food onsite had to match.
Neil Butts, the director of Culinary Programs, and his team work hard to offer employees healthy food options in the company’s zero-waste cafeteria – a task made easier by Kinaxis being
THE ROOF-TOP PATIO IS THE PERFECT SPOT TO GRAB A BITE WITH COLLEAGUES OR TO GET SOME WORK DONE OUTDOORS
a part of the 100-kilometre food program, which promotes the use of ingredients from nearby farmers and vendors.
“The goal of the culinary program is to not only provide healthy food, but to also provide a medium to connect and collaborate with one another,” he says. “We encourage employees to try to connect with those they don’t normally speak with and share a meal together.”
The company’s dedication to fun flavours and exciting meals isn’t just for the lunchroom, says Butts. Fridges are stocked with Kombucha and specialty sweet treats like sorbet are provided in the summer – all of which can be enjoyed on the company’s rooftop patio.
“The passionate Facilities team fully outfitted the rooftop with umbrellas, lounge seating for work, as well as a cooking area for summer BBQs. It’s the perfect addition to the building,” he says.
With a plethora of workspaces for employees to choose from – and plenty of room for the company to grow – there is no doubt that the new office is a place employees want to be.
“We genuinely love coming here,” adds Norman. “It helps foster our culture and sets us up well for the future. Overall, people are thrilled to have such a cool place to work.”
THE ON-SITE 3,900 SQ. FT. FITNESS CENTRE IS OPEN 24/7 AND HOSTS ONE-ON-ONE TRAINING AND GROUP FITNESS CLASSES, AS WELL AS HEALTH SEMINARS AND CHIROPRACTIC / MASSAGE SERVICES
A celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region.
To be a part of our 2024 edition please contact Wendy Baily: firstname.lastname@example.org