Best Offices Ottawa 2022

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MARANT CONSTRUCTION Building on a legacy partnership with new Dentons office

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CONFLUENCE ARCHITECTURE Remodeling an iconic Gatineau farmers market

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SIMMONDS ARCHITECTURE Putting collaboration at the centre of its own office redesign

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IDEA INC. Striking the perfect balance for hybrid work at a new government co-working site

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HOBIN ARCHITECTURE Teaming up on the Taggart Group office expansion

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FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE Creating a modern home for Recollective’s expanding team

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ow 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. Burovision is ready to help navigate this evolution and future proof your current investment. With the help of our trusted partners, we bring forward insights, design solutions, and services to help teams feel supported at work – wherever that might be. We leverage our signature furniture products, technologies and planning strategies to create inspiring spaces that will unleash your best work. On Feb. 9, 2022, Burovision Ottawa acquired Ottawa Business Interiors (OBI). Together, we are now your exclusive partner for the most comprehensive suite of MillerKnoll design brands. Our combined teams will continue to deliver exceptional customer care and outstanding, creative solutions to best service our nation’s capital. Burovision is a proud sponsor of Best Offices Ottawa, a publication that celebrates the evolving yet unwavering importance of the communal workplace as a home for culture, community and innovation. Looking to create your own thriving workplace? Let us be your guide to the best office experience.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD BY

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ART BANK Helping the Global Centre for Pluralism broach difficult subjects through careful artwork curation


ART BANK

GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM

Inspiring employees through thoughtful art SPRING 2022 Best Offices Ottawa

THE ART BANK HELPS THE GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM BROACH DIFFICULT SUBJECTS THROUGH CAREFUL ARTWORK CURATION

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ince the pandemic, employers have been reimagining the role of the office — and it’s a shift that Rebecca Huxtable, manager of Art Rental at the Canada Council Art Bank, has been seeing first-hand. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the Art Bank gives the public unique access to Canadian art through its programs – corporate art rental, exhibitions and outreach. Its collection is enormous, with 17,000 modern and contemporary artworks, ranging from paintings to sculptures to photography, and inclusive of artists from Indigenous and racialized communities. “It’s a national collection,” Huxtable says. “You really see the diversity of voices,

experiences and art practices in Canada over the last 50 years.” Huxtable witnesses, through her clients, that employers contemplating the future of work are carefully considering the elements of an aesthetically pleasing, functional and healthy office — and art is a key element to making this happen. “It can help a workplace communicate its values and its brand to clients,” Huxtable says. “It can make staff feel really good and contribute to employee wellness and satisfaction.”

REPRESENTING VALUES THROUGH ART

One of the Art Bank’s clients is the Global Centre for Pluralism: an international

Brandon Clarida Image Services hub for research, education and dialogue to support positive responses to diversity. Located on Sussex Drive, the Centre’s building was previously home to the historical Dominion Archives and War Museum.

“I’m very conscious that it’s a colonial building, and we’re an organization that is devoted to inclusion and belonging,” says Meredith Preston McGhie, the Centre’s secretary general. “We really wanted to give some thought as to how we could use


ART BANK

PHOTO CREDIT: MIRA GODARD GALLERY

MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN ART

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PHOTO CREDIT: BRANDON CLARIDA IMAGE SERVICES

FACING PAGE: TOP: Andrew Lyght, Universal Picture No. 3 (1972); BOTTOM: Ruben Komangapik, Light is Life (2002).

5 GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM

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THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE: Bob Boyer, Use Your Protection and Cover Your Rig (1994); George Littlechild, Never Again (1993); Fabian Jean, A New World (2008)


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“I’m very conscious that it’s a colonial building, and we’re an organization that is devoted to inclusion and belonging. We really wanted to give some thought as to how we could use art to express pluralism on the walls of a building that, in a way, [is] related to some really troubling legacies of our past.” — MEREDITH PRESTON MCGHIE, SECRETARY GENERAL, GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM

art to express pluralism on the walls of a building that, in a way, [is] related to some really troubling legacies of our past.” McGhie’s team reached out to the Art Bank for support, eventually renting 24 artworks. A full-suite turnkey service, the Art Bank takes care of framing, preparation, delivery, and installation — but before any of that, it provides clients with an in-depth consultation. “I felt like they understood what we were trying to get to very, very quickly,” McGhie says. “It was just a wonderful way of them bringing their extraordinary, encyclopedic knowledge of their collection and what it means, with our lens of pluralism.”

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SPARKING IDEAS AND INSPIRATION

As well as picking the art pieces, Huxtable worked with the Centre to brainstorm where each piece should be installed —

something that sounds simple, but takes a lot of thoughtful planning to ensure the right artworks are in the right space for visual impact, and to prevent the art from damage by traffic flow or light sources. McGhie shares an example of an artwork by George Littlechild from 1993: a photograph of his mother as a young girl at an Indian Residential School, with the words ‘Never Again’ written at the top. Originally a black-and-white photograph, Littlechild has created an unexpected contrast by treating the image with bright colours. At first, the artwork was placed next to the lower elevator of the Centre — but after consideration, it was relocated to the lobby. “It’s the first piece of art that you see, and we felt that was really important,” McGhie says. “It’s [reflecting] a moment we are living in Canada right now.” In the well of the Centre’s elevator hangs a piece by Fabian Jean, whose parents immigrated to Canada from China. The painting, titled ‘New World’ (2008) shows a stage-like setting, with a young woman rowing a boat. Her expression is difficult to interpret and there are references to Asian and European elements within the painting. “It’s exceptionally unsettling,” McGhie says. “It’s one of those pieces where you’re not sure if she’s coming or going, [and] she looks anxious. “This piece takes up all the attention in a wonderful way. We thought this piece was important because of the themes of migration, diaspora, identity, and experience. We gave a lot of thought to the placement of this piece and we chose an elevator well, where visitors and staff can take a moment for intimate reflection.”

ENHANCE YOUR SPACE WITH ART

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ART BANK


Huxtable anticipates the future of work will mean there is more emphasis on the office as a space for “creativity and collaboration” — and that’s what McGhie hopes the new art pieces will encourage. “I’ve already found that these artworks have enriched the visits of people to the building, because we’re able to pause and reflect on them,” she says. For McGhie, the art is an incredibly useful tool to open conversations around tough issues. As well as this, “a lot of our staff have said there’s just a different energy,” she says. “There’s a lot of colour in the pieces that we selected, and each of them have these amazing stories that help us reflect on the many facets of our society.” One of McGhie’s favourite pieces is an abstract painting by artist Rita Letendre, titled ‘Blues II’. A colourful burst of purples and greens, McGhie says she’s uplifted each time she sees it. “I have more energy to have my conversations when I am in the presence of this piece – and this is the power of art: it’s supposed to inspire you and challenge you, all at once.”

ART BANK

AN ENERGIZED RETURN TO THE OFFICE

FULL-SERVICE CORPORATE ART RENTAL ART BANK

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CHOOSE FROM OVER 17,000 ARTWORKS

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ART BANK


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MARANT Construction builds on legacy partnership with new Dentons office

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ince its inception, Dentons Ottawa has been on a notable growth journey, quickly becoming one of the largest law firms in the city. But, with great success comes the need for a great office. Located at 99 Bank St. in the Sun Life Financial Centre, Dentons’ office boasts large windows offering sweeping panoramic views of Parliament and the downtown core. Although the firm occupies the entire fourteenth floor – giving it room to continue to expand – as Dentons’ director of talent, Lara Vos Smith, explains, the original outdated design and flow weren’t reflective of the

growing law firm’s culture or values. “Our space was in need of a refresh,” she says. “We had to make it open (and) collaborative to make it more reflective of who we are now.” In order to create an office environment suited to a modern growing business, Dentons connected with a familiar partner, MARANT Construction Limited, a leader in the commercial interior construction industry and a company revered for its expertise in the renovation of legal, professional service and corporate spaces. The law firm’s Toronto office was constructed by MARANT years earlier, creating a lasting relationship


MARANT CONSTRUCTION

between the two companies. With MARANT’s unmatched commitment to its clients – even after a project is completed – it was a natural fit for the pair to tackle the national capital office in 2019. “It has been an honor for MARANT to support Dentons with the Ottawa renovation. The firm recognizes MARANT’s partnership approach to solutioning challenges, our expertise in leasehold improvements and commitment to high-quality,” says Matthew DiCintio, regional director of operations at MARANT. “This has allowed MARANT to support Dentons in numerous ventures and foster our relationship as a ‘building partner’ to them for the last 23 years.”

A BOLD NEW LOOK

CLEAN, MINIMALISTIC AESTHETIC

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To reflect Dentons’ innovative spirit, MARANT, in collaboration with 4té, the project’s interior design team, executed on the open-concept, industrial style the team decided on — a big departure from the office’s previous look. Vos Smith says the original space was “fairly traditional” with lots of wood tones and closed-in boardrooms and offices. “It’s really hard to remember what was there before because it’s such a transformation,” she says. “We took it right back to the bare wall, to the bare floor, and started from scratch.” Once on-board, MARANT managed the demolition of the entire floor, as well as the build-out itself – assessing all site conditions, providing suggestions to mitigate any possible delays, and working closely with architects and engineers to ensure a smooth process. As a result, the office underwent a full transformation, featuring open ceilings with exposed HVAC systems, as well as epoxy and concrete flooring for a clean, minimalistic aesthetic. By shrinking the size of the private offices in favour of large, collaborative spaces and by moving those spaces from the perimeter of the space to the interior, the floorplan also has a more balanced feel. The main area, made up of the reception and boardroom, was completely reimagined and fitted with three operable wall partitions, offering the team more flexibility in how they work within the space, says Stephanie El Azzi, project manager at MARANT. “It gives the client the option of having an open space to host their events, or to


MARANT CONSTRUCTION

EPOXY AND CONCRETE FLOORING

“We’re setting a standard for delivering modern, high-end finishes within the [private and public] sector.”

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— STEPHANIE EL AZZI, PROJECT MANAGER, MARANT

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OPEN CEILINGS WITH EXPOSED HVAC SYSTEMS

keep it closed and private for meetings,” adds El Azzi. Glass office-fronts, quartz countertops and signature lighting combine to give the office a bright, spacious look. The new staff lounge is lined with benches and welcoming leather banquettes with a kitchen island in the middle of the room, giving a “very modern look with high-end finishes,” El Azzi says. There’s also an espresso lounge with top-of-the-line coffee machines, wine fridges and a small kitchenette, ideal for hosting smaller events. The law firm’s work with entrepreneurial clients in the technology sector is also reflected in the architecture of the office. Angular walls and sightlines were strategically used to create the feeling of movement and momentum, capturing the idea of the firm advancing forward into the future. Dentons’ extensive art collection brings an added element of colour and creativity to the office, which MARANT accentuated through the construction of gallery-like spaces, El Azzi says. For


MARANT CONSTRUCTION

example, in one of the board rooms, lighting is angled to emphasize an art installation featuring an orca, created by Indigenous artist Corey Bulpitt. “When I show people the space, that’s one of the first things I want to show them: this beautiful boardroom with this beautiful piece of art,” Vos Smith says.

DYNAMIC AND NIMBLE

Having started in the fall of 2019, the office redesign was completed in 2021, a much longer timeline than anticipated due to pandemic lockdowns. But COVID-19 wasn’t the only challenge MARANT tackled along the way; Dentons is located below the prestigious Rideau Club, meaning noise control was extremely important in order not to interrupt events. Sometimes, this meant that construction work would have to start as late as 10:00 at night. In addition, Dentons staff were still occupying their office space during construction. To minimize the impact on hard-working employees, MARANT divided the office in two, switching sides with staff as it completed work on each section, says El Azzi. It also made sure to maintain the team’s IT connection and never obstructed the office’s iconic views of Parliament, leaving an open line of sight for employees to enjoy. “It was a challenging period of time, but I always found that (MARANT) responded really appropriately,” Vos Smith says. “It was good to have some experienced hands at the wheel.”

AN EXCITING RETURN TO WORK

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El Azzi says that Dentons’ Ottawa location is a landmark for offices in the region, seamlessly integrating open spaces and private offices, something that is especially important for law firms dealing with sensitive client meetings. “We’re setting a standard for delivering modern, high-end finishes within the [private and public] sector,” she says. Vos Smith is also thrilled with the new office space. Despite many employees still working from home due to COVID-19, she says that her team has shared “extremely positive” feedback already. “There are lots of opportunities to use the space to re-engage as a team,” she says. “It will be re-energizing for people to have a new, fresh, bright, light-filled space to come to.”

LOTS OF SPACE FOR TEAM MEETINGS


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FLOOR-TOCIELING WINDOWS PROVIDE NATURAL LIGHT AND SWEEPING STREETVIEWS

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A modern community meeting place CONFLUENCE ARCHITECTURE REMODELS ICONIC GATINEAU FARMERS MARKET

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f you’ve ever driven through Old Gatineau, you likely came across the Marché NotreDame. The red, open-air wood beam structure was hard to miss, boasting colourful murals on the back building and occasionally housing local vendors selling fruit, vegetables and other artisanal goods. When the city of Gatineau set out to revitalize a portion of the Rue Notre Dame

in 2018, updating the local market space was a key pillar in the plan. After putting out a request for proposal, the city awarded the project to Confluence Architecture, formerly Mercier Pfalzgraf Architectes, a Gatineau-based firm known for its thoughtful and sustainable approach to design. “In terms of architecture, they wanted something innovative, contemporary and yet


CONFLUENCE ARCHITECTURE

coherent with the surrounding area,” says Vincent Renaud, partner at Confluence Architecture. “As the first step in the rejuvenation process, they also wanted to demonstrate to the community that they were aiming high with this project.” Working closely with the city and community representatives, Confluence Architecture replaced the aging A-frame structure with a modern, glass-encased building that not only pays homage to the original marketplace, but better serves the community and its goals.

A NATURAL DESIGN APPROACH

WOOD CONNECTS THE ESSENCE OF OLD AND NEW

At the back of the new structure sits an original piece of the Marché Notre-Dame, which Confluence Architecture committed to incorporating with the new design to preserve aspects of its historical significance.

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Drawing inspiration from the original structure, Confluence Architecture created a glue-laminated timber structure, wrapped in aluminium siding that mimics the look of wood. Floor-toceiling windows on two sides of the structure offer sweeping views of the streetscape, and flood the space with natural light – an important factor in keeping with the spirit of a farmers market. “By creating an enclosed space, it gives the community the ability to utilize the building year round, but it was important that the space still felt open and natural,” says Renaud. For added visual interest on the front of the building, a wrap-around wooden sunshade was constructed, framing the large windows and marking a terrace around the building. At the back of the new structure sits an original piece of the Marché NotreDame, which Confluence Architecture committed to incorporating with the new design to preserve aspects of its historical significance. Although marrying the two could have posed a challenge, the team found a workaround by maintaining a cross section of the original structure and connecting the buildings with a new roof. “We wanted to capture the essence of the space by using a lot of wood to connect the old and the new,” he says. “It provides continuity with what was there before.” The spirit of the Marché Notre-Dame


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OTHER FEATURED PROJECTS TFO > As part of a collaboration between TFO Groupe Media and La Cité, space was made available for TFO to move their Ottawa office and audiovisual production activities to La Cité’s Aviation Parkway campus. The space is divided by a street-like corridor that isolates the TV studio, AV-mixing room, and sound booth on one side while meeting rooms and open workspaces are located on the other. The fit-up provides a diversity of ambiances and collaboration opportunities while preserving all existing production operations including equipment storage, server room, typical office spaces and a kitchenette.

< PLACE DU MARCHÉ As part of this project, Confluence Architecture revisited the traditional typology of commercial buildings. The team’s intervention is manifested through a dynamic geometry and a play on materials that aims to break up the volumes and emphasize the angles on the street corner. In order to amplify this urban positioning, Confluence Architecture gave each of the buildings a pergola that provides cover for an outdoor public space. These dramatic and uplifting pergolas, designed with offset surfaces, generate excitement and curiosity, completing the intended dynamism for the entire project.


CONFLUENCE ARCHITECTURE

is carried through inside the new building as well, with large, structural wood beams becoming an instant focal point in the space, mimicking the rhythm of the booths at the market. Designed to serve as both a retail space for artisanal goods, an event space and a bistro – outfitted with a modern, open-concept kitchen and pizza oven – Confluence Architecture sought to strike a balance between elevated finishings and natural elements that would ground the space. An unobstructed sightline flows down the middle of the room, which is meant to evoke the feeling of walking through the vendor stalls, says Renaud, while polished concrete floors carry throughout the main seating area and retail space, reminiscent of the pavement which lined the market. “The space has a signature feel that flows through the entire building,” he says. “Using sustainable materials was really important to bridge the inside with the outdoor space and make it feel cohesive.”

ELEVATED FINISHINGS AND NATURAL ELEMENTS GROUND THE SPACE

A NEW ERA

An unobstructed sightline flows down the middle of the room, which is meant to evoke the feeling of walking through the vendor stalls, while polished concrete floors carry throughout the main seating area and retail space, reminiscent of the pavement which lined the market.

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While the team at Confluence are renowned for helping companies evolve their spaces, the Gatineau architecture firm recently underwent its own transformation, rebranding the business from Mercier Pfalzgraf Architectes to Confluence Architecture. Under the leadership of Renaud and fellow partner Lino Alves, the pair decided to bring the firm into a new era following the retirement of former owners Mercier and Pfalzgraf. “We believe architecture has a role to play in shaping our environment, and we incorporate that into every project we work on,” says Alves. “The firm needed to reflect that approach to community building as we look to take on new projects and challenges.” The pair landed on Confluence Architecture as not only a reflection of their design approach, but as a geographical marker for the firm. Translating to the meeting of two rivers, Renaud says it represents the work the team does in both Gatineau and Ontario – a bridging of the communities. “Architecture is technical but there is a real beauty in how it serves the community,” he adds. “We look forward to continuing to merge functionality and design in every project we touch.”


SIMMONDS ARCHITECTURE SPRING 2022 Best Offices Ottawa

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Simmonds Architecture puts collaboration at the centre of its own office redesign

stablished in 1996, Simmonds Architecture is an award-winning leader in modern design. While being best known throughout Ottawa for its custom housing, the firm has also worked on projects such as the Tomlinson Group headquarters, supportive mixed-use housing for a non-profit organization and, most recently, a specialty medical clinic with surgical operating suites. The year 2020 was a big one for the firm: as well as undergoing a brand change, Simmonds Architecture moved its offices from Chinatown to Centretown. Samantha Schneider, a project and design principal at Simmonds, explains that the previous office space was becoming too small for the growing company. “We were looking for a space where we could start fresh and look at our identity again.” The team found just that in their new office located at 340 Catherine St. The building — which used to house the Canadian Red Cross — is two storeys, with Simmonds Architecture taking over the ground floor. But, while the new office was large enough, it didn’t have the modern, inspirational feel the team was aiming for, so they gutted it and started from scratch. Led by Schneider, the firm took on its own redesign to create a space that drives creativity and innovation.

A BRAND NEW LOOK

When you enter the new office, you’re immediately met with a calm, bright atmosphere. Oak counters and workstations run parallel along


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“We were looking for a space where we could start fresh and look at our identity again.” MINIMAL AND MODERN COLOUR SCHEME

— SAMANTHA SCHNEIDER, PROJECT AND DESIGN PRINCIPAL

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MODERN AND INSPIRATIONAL SPACE

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SIMMONDS ARCHITECTURE

CALM AND BRIGHT ATMOSPHERE

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“We wanted the design to strike a balance between contemporary and casual simplicity.”

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— CHRIS SIMMONDS, PRINCIPAL AND OWNER

two walls, with natural light flooding in through large windows. The office has a neutral colour palette, featuring clean whites and natural greys. Through a careful curation of different textures, including white oak accents, the space is minimalistic while also radiating warmth and dynamism. An open ceiling shows off the building’s charcoal-grey truss work, as well as exposed mechanical systems, helping to strike a

balance between “contemporary and casual simplicity,” says Christopher Simmonds, the firm’s principal and owner. In a unique design choice, the conference room is located in the middle of the office, instead of being tucked away in a corner. An angular, partially transparent block with detailed glass, ribbed cladding panels and white oak trim, the design of the room signals to clients that, when they come to Simmonds


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collaborative areas or go solo with single flexible standing desks.

COLLABORATION IS KEY

AN EXCITING FUTURE

The completed office received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the firm’s team. During the first week of March 2020, Simmonds Architecture moved into the newly renovated space — then, the pandemic hit. “We had a very fun first two weeks,” Simmonds says. “We were very pleased with ourselves, but then we all had to go home to work.” Over the last few months, the team has slowly begun to return to the office. “There’s a sense of collaboration, a sense of pride,” Schneider says about the new space. And, as things continue to re-open, the team is once again able to meet with clients in the office. “Our new space truly demonstrates the thought and care we put into our designs,” adds Simmonds.

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Located in Centretown, the office was a rare find downtown. Simmonds explains that, usually, buildings like this one are limited to industrial parks, far away from any commercial centre. “The idea that we could be in a spot where it’s handy to pop out, get some lunch and then take a walk — it was all-important to have that sort of amenity,” Simmonds says, adding that the location is also convenient for clients as it’s right off the Queensway. The firm’s team can walk or bike to work, so Simmonds Architecture added bike racks and showers to the new office. “It’s all things people asked for,” Simmonds says. “We wanted to be able to accommodate.”

Schneider adds, “I think people feel more invested in our office now than they did in our previous space.” And it makes sense that they would — the redesign was a fully collaborative process between the firm’s architects. As experts in the field, Simmonds Architecture didn’t run into any notable challenges when redesigning the new office. However, there was one big differentiator between this project and all their others: “We always have to find solutions that satisfy a client — in this case, ourselves,” Schneider says. “The greatest challenge, though I think it’s a good one, was us.” Schneider explains that, as part of the redesign, the team had to hone in on and define their collective identity. “Although someone may lead the process, everybody has been involved throughout,” she says.

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Architecture, they’re the main focus. Placing the conference room in the centre of the space also ensures that no employee is isolated in the “back” of the office because, arguably, there is no back. “We wanted to keep a certain openness and fluid connection running throughout the whole space,” Schneider says. Simmonds jokingly adds that if anyone brings their children or dogs to work, “you can play chase — it’s fabulous.” Through subtle design, the firm has ensured that each area of the office flows seamlessly into the next, from the modern kitchenette to the light-filled reception area. “It’s all homogenous, in a way, because we like to be together,” Schneider says. At the same time, privacy was top of mind during the renovation — the conference wall is soundproofed, and staff can choose whether to work in groups in


PHOTO BY MICHAEL LEM, PRIME VISUALS

IDEA INC. SPRING 2022 Best Offices Ottawa

PATTERNED WOOD WALLS CREATE VISUAL INTEREST

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Putting flexibility at the core of design ARCHITECTURE FIRM IDEA INC. STRIKES THE PERFECT BALANCE FOR HYBRID WORK AT NEW GOVERNMENT CO-WORKING SITE

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t’s not often that in-office federal government employees can edit a presentation deck while walking on a treadmill or lounging in a cozy diner-style booth. But that’s exactly the case at 141 Colonnade Rd., an older space recently renovated by the architects at IDEA Inc. for landlord Regional Group and its federal government client. The building’s nearly 40,000 square feet of space, spread over two floors, previously had an “extremely dated” look and feel, explains Tal Scher, vice-president of Asset and Property Management at Regional

Group. “It sat vacant for a few years,” he recalls. “We struggled to fill it. It was a dated, old-looking space.” But after Regional responded to – and won – a federal request for proposals (RFP) asking for roughly the same amount of space and a new design concept, everything changed for 141 Colonnade.

ACHIEVING THE ULTIMATE ACTIVITY-BASED WORKPLACE

Through a competitive process, Regional Group partnered with architecture firm IDEA Inc. and PCL Construction to


and interesting space. Maximizing natural daylight in any office is important, but isn’t always easy with expansive floorplates, says Yates. That’s why IDEA placed most workstations adjacent to the office’s extensive exterior glazing, while outfitting meeting rooms with large glass fronts. “It’s glazing all the way around in most meeting rooms,” explains IDEA architect Danica Lau. “So even though you’re in an enclosed room, you have light coming through.” Even the most beautifully designed office can be frustrating for workers without good noise dampening, which is why acoustics were a huge consideration during the tenant fit-up. Acoustic controls include soundabsorbing ceiling tiles, felt wall coverings and tiles used as design features. Rich wood wall cladding in a warm and rustic herringbone pattern and suspended wooden slats in many of the space’s collaborative rooms also help balance noise throughout the space.

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SERENE AESTHETIC WITH POPS OF COLOUR

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renovate the building’s two floors, right down to the studs. IDEA Inc. associate architect Debbie Yates says the team worked within the parameters of the federal government’s GCWorkplace office modernization initiative to deliver a flexible space that conforms to an activitybased workplace approach. That meant facilitating a hybrid work environment capable of supporting multiple different ways of working that encourages workers to spread out within the space and that doesn’t tether individual workers to one workstation, she explains. “Now that everybody has their own laptop, they’re not really tied to a desk. So, we created a whole bunch of different spaces to work in,” says Yates. Fittingly, 141 Colonnade’s new look and feel features design choices that encourage a more inviting and flexible workplace for up to 275 full-time employees. The space now boasts a range of different working spots, including traditional workstations, phone booths, focus pods, support/meeting rooms and lounge-style touchdown spaces (and, yes, a couple of treadmill desks). The office’s multiple kitchenettes were also designed as collaborative workspaces, meant to be used any time of day. The installation of decorative resin panels, not solid walls, helps demarcate these types of rooms without completely closing them to the rest of the space. “We didn’t want to completely close off the area,” explains IDEA architect Leah Guerra, “but still wanted to provide some kind of privacy.” A central core of employee lockers in the middle of the floor plan act as a hub and buffer zone between the office’s collaborative and quiet areas, while also providing a place for drop-in employees to store their belongings. IDEA draped the space in rich and earthy neutral colours, wood grains and other natural finishes, bringing a comfortable feel to the office. Biophilic design, an architectural approach that connects building design with nature, has been shown to enhance worker creativity, improve workplace productivity and even reduce the number of employee sick days taken each year. That serene aesthetic is balanced with subtle yet bright pop-up colours like blues, purples and oranges to create an inviting


IDEA INC.

BRIGHT, SPACIOUS GALLEY KITCHEN

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MORE VARIETY AND FLEXIBILITY IN WORK SPACES

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SPECIAL EXPERTISE REQUIRED FOR A TWOPHASE RENOVATION

The current iteration of IDEA (short for Integrated Design - Engineering and Architecture) was formed two years ago, when IDEA Inc. merged with COLE + Associates Architects. Since then, the firm has tackled dozens of projects in the Ottawa area, including several for the federal government. Regional Group’s Scher says that kind of experience is key when facing the unique considerations surrounding any federal government fit-up project. “The architect needs an understanding of the process of working with the federal government to ensure a project doesn’t get drawn out over a long period of time,” explains Scher. In this case, the project was a two-phase renovation, with the first phase consisting of “landlord’s work” – completely new HVAC systems, sprinklers, interior and exterior lighting, exterior glazing, flooring, walls and other base building elements – and the second involving the tenant fit-up. “It’s always beneficial for everyone to get the work done in a very timely manner,” and the team at IDEA did that, says Scher.


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RICH WOOD ACCENTS HELP ABSORB NOISE

THE RESULT: A VERY HAPPY TENANT

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NATURAL LIGHT SHINES THROUGH MEETING ROOMS

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Even though the tenant hasn’t yet used the space to its full potential – the renovations were completed in early 2020, just as COVID hit the Ottawa area – the federal government client loves its renovated space. “The team at IDEA is excellent,” the tenant says. “They provide impressive attention to detail, knowledge and solutions. The result is a project completed on time, on budget and most certainly with a wow factor that impresses everyone.” Yates says the new space even has the potential to change the way the client’s employees work, with far greater flexibility and collaborative options now available – a key potential driver in getting employees back to the office. “There are so many more points where you can interact with your colleagues,” she says. “At the same time, there are other areas, reflection points, so that if you need a little break to recharge you can sit and look out the window and you’re separated from the main office through acoustic material. There’s just a lot more variety and flexibility built into the space.”

“It’s glazing all the way around in most meeting rooms. So even though you’re in an enclosed room, you havelight coming through.” — DANICA LAU, ARCHITECT, IDEA


HOBIN ARCHITECTURE

Bringing Taggart’s iconic HQ back to life

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ucked away behind the trees lining Johnston Road in the city’s south end sits the headquarters for one of Ottawa’s most notable residential and commercial developers. Since the 1940s, the Taggart Group of Companies has expanded its presence in the capital, contributing to local infrastructure development and building homes for many residents in the region. As the business grew, however, the company’s headquarters became dated and stretched to its limits – most recently housing the Taggart Construction team as well as its sister companies Tamarack and Doran Contractors. “The original building was from the 1950s and despite creating an extension in 2006, we outgrew that too,” said Art Bonsall, director of preconstruction at Doran. “It was time to bring our headquarters into the 21st century to match who we are as a company.” Turning to Hobin Architecture – a longstanding partner and the team who helped revamp the developer’s Albion Street office in 1984, 1998 and again in 2006 – as well as interior design firm 4té Inc., Taggart Group set out to transform its historic office space, serving as both the client on the project and the general contractor.

A DRASTICALLY NEW LAYOUT

PHOTOS BY MIV

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STRONG FOCUS ON WORK GROUPS

HOBIN ARCHITECTURE, 4TÉ INC. TEAM UP WITH TAGGART GROUP ON OFFICE EXPANSION

HISTORIC OFFICE TRANSFORMED TO MODERN SPACE

The main part of the office renovation was the construction of 12,000 square feet of additional space, referred to as building C. With Taggart’s HQ located within the company’s work yard, where it stores heavy equipment, trucks and materials, the team was limited in how far they could expand the building, says Doug van den Ham, Hobin Architecture’s lead architectural designer on the project. Instead of


HOBIN ARCHITECTURE

WARM, WELCOMING OFFICE SPACE

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building out, van den Ham suggested Taggart build up, drawing up plans for a two-storey, 6,000 square foot building addition that would seamlessly fit into the existing structure. “Working closely with 4té, we tried to come up with a new building floor plate arrangement that would be quite flexible and open given the space constraints,” he says. “We focused more on workgroups and collaboration spaces, as opposed to their existing layout, which was segmented and built around small individual offices.” The new building is divided into three linear bays, with the centre spine housing washrooms, printer rooms and board rooms. The exterior bays are home to open workstations, with private offices located at either end, ensuring equal access to the daylight from the window-clad exterior walls. “Having that solid centre line through the building was a strategic organizational tool for us to make sure we created spaces around it for each of the teams,” says van den Ham. “It was a drastic departure from the original layout.”


HOBIN ARCHITECTURE

“Our goal was to create a look that was timeless, modern and reflective of Taggart’s history in the business.” — TZOOFIT HAMMER, PRINCIPAL, 4TÉ INC.

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BRANDING AT THE FOREFRONT OF DESIGN

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FUNCTIONAL, DURABLE WORK SPACES

While the flow of the office was completely reimagined, so too was the interior design of the space. The new office is warm and welcoming, dressed in a neutral palette of grey, white and black hues. Modern glass walls are incorporated throughout the space, tying in the industrial-style exposed ceilings, which are in turn juxtaposed by warm wood materials and pops of colourful furniture. “Our goal was to create a look that was timeless, modern and reflective of Taggart’s history in the business,” says Tzoofit Hammer, principal at local interior design firm 4té Inc. “At the same time, it needed to be functional and durable, given that we are working with a client in the construction industry.” To ensure longevity and sound absorption, 4té selected luxury vinyl tiles and carpeting that mimic concrete for the majority of the floor finishes – a nod to Taggart’s construction prowess. OSB


HOBIN ARCHITECTURE

plywood was used as a design feature for wall paneling in staff meeting rooms as well as in the staff lounge island millwork and ceiling treatment, creating a dynamic look and feel to the space, while materials meant to look like rusted metal and aged copper were incorporated in the lobby and in the washrooms. “We wanted Taggart Group to feel represented in the space and for it to serve as a reminder to staff and clients of the great work they do,” says Hammer. “Their brand needed to be front and centre.”

A HISTORY OF COLLABORATION

When construction on building C wrapped up in 2020, and the reality of the pandemic set in, Taggart seized the opportunity to extend the renovation with Hobin and 4té past the new addition and into the remaining office in order to complete the next two renovation phases concurrently and expedite the overall duration of the project. “With staff working from home, it became the perfect time to give the entire building a refresh,” says Jennilee Campbell, manager, project coordination and operations at Doran. “We ended up gutting both building A and B, which was great because now we have a cohesive look and feel through the entire space.” While Hobin and Taggart have worked closely together on several iterations of the company headquarters over the years, the pair’s relationship extends far beyond the space at 3187 Albion Rd.

For decades, the duo has worked together on residential and commercial projects, bonding over a mutual dedication to building communities and developing impactful urban spaces. To date, Taggart and Hobin have collaborated on dozens of influential projects, such as the reinvention of 1140 Wellington W., which combines apartments, greenspace

and retail space. “It’s great working with a team that you feel like you can be honest with and share a similar vision with,” says Campbell. “A lot of that comes from that long working history.” Pairing that generational relationship with Hobin’s decade-long partnership with 4té and you’re left with a dynamic

team that could only lead to a successful project, says van den Ham. It’s a sentiment echoed by Hammer. “Everyone involved understood and recognized the strength and talent of the other, which led to this amazing building,” she says. “It was a collaboration in every sense of the word and the end result truly demonstrates that.”

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FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE

Designing an elevated space for a growing company FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE CREATES A MODERN HOME FOR RECOLLECTIVE’S EXPANDING TEAM

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PHOTOS BY DAVID BOYER

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hen Recollective CEO Alfred Jay decided to move his research software company from Gatineau back to the capital, he knew he wanted to be in the heart of the city. But, finding a space that was not only functional for the growing team but also reflective of the company’s culture proved to be a challenge. “We wanted to anchor down, build out our headquarters and create a home for our company,” says Jay. “If we couldn’t find a space that met our needs, we were committed to creating one that we could continue to grow into for years to come.” After viewing several offices in the downtown area, Jay landed on a light-filled space in the World Exchange Plaza, with direct views of the courtyard amphitheatre and ample space for various workstations. Working closely with Figurr Architects Collective and local contractor The Lake Partnership Inc. (TLPI), Recollective’s vision for the office was brought to life, transforming the suite into the modern, elevated space the team was searching for.

CREATING THE MODERN OFFICE

From the project’s onset, collaboration was key to ensuring a successful fit-up. Figurr and TLPI have a similar approach to working that values teamwork and design excellence. When Recollective brought TLPI on board to manage the office reconstruction, it was the perfect opportunity for the general contractor and Figurr to team up on their first project. “It’s extremely important for us to work closely with all teams involved in a renovation, especially the client,” says Roberto Campos, partner and head of Figurr’s Ottawa office. “It gives them ownership over the process and results in an even better design because we get to understand their goals.” For this project, the architecture team set up a Pinterest board to gauge what design elements the client liked – and didn’t like. Very quickly, it became clear that Jay and his team were looking for an ultra-clean, modern space, says Campos. Figurr incorporated that minimalist aesthetic into every design element, from the unobstructed


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MINIMALIST AESTHETIC AND MODERN DESIGN

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FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE

TURNING STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES INTO DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES

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CUSTOM LIGHT-FILLED SPACES

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sightlines throughout the space down to the light fixtures and cabinet handles. “We wanted to achieve the level of finesse that the client was looking for, regardless of how small the detail was,” says Campos. Upon entering the office, you’re met with a crisp, neutral palette and a glass-encased board room, all of which accentuate the large windows that surround the space. Slate grey flooring and bright white walls are contrasted by crisp black frames that outline the boardroom’s glass partitions, making it an immediate focal point. Pops of black are incorporated throughout the office, most notably in the kitchen, which features dramatic matte black cabinets and storage units. The modern yet warm design carries into the open-concept workstations that line the office’s main hall, with white desks and light-wood wall paneling creating a clean and sophisticated feel. “Similarly to how we engineer our products, there is a real attention to detail in the design,” says Jay. “We wanted the space to reflect that we take our work seriously and the optimized functionality and feel of the office does just that.”

While a modern aesthetic may seem easier to achieve – with fewer elements or colours in play – executing on a minimalist design is often more intensive and leaves little to no room for error, says Christopher Alderson, partner and senior project manager at TLPI. “With this project, we were always looking at how to marry design intent and feasibility,” says Alderson, who oversaw the construction and management for the renovation. “Figurr was great at working with us to ensure that, when it was all finished, you didn’t see the challenges that went into making something complicated work.” In this case, the L-shaped floor plate and proximity to the outdoor amphitheatre space posed some challenges during construction. Some of the walls in the office feature a slight curvature, which meant the team needed to adjust the architectural approach to ensure the lines were, in fact, straight. Several structural pillars throughout the space also posed challenges to the layout. The design team removed the drywall cladding from the intrusive columns to leave their rough concrete exposed, integrating them as design elements in the space. The modernity of the office is also reflected in the fine details, from the alignment of outlets and sprinkler heads, to the soundproofing tiles on the ceiling. “It’s the little things that really matter, and if you do them right, you won’t even notice them,” says Alderson. “It was nice to watch Figurr come up with different plans to incorporate these necessary elements into the overall design.” For Jay and the Recollective team, who are now making their return to the new office, having a space that so clearly reflects who they are as a company is paramount to their future success. And, working with a strong team able to capture the vision for the space made the process that much easier. “Collaborating with Figurr and TLPI was phenomenal,” adds Jay. “They were very keen to listen to my ideas and objectives, and that gave me a lot of confidence that, ultimately, we’d have something that we could be really excited about and really proud of.”


FIGURR ARCHITECTS COLLECTIVE

“We wanted to achieve the level of finesse that the client was looking for, regardless of how small the detail was.” – ROBERTO CAMPOS, PARTNER AND HEAD OF FIGURR’S OTTAWA OFFICE

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SMALL DETAILS INCORPORATED INTO THE OVERALL SPACE

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A celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region.

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2022

To be a part of our 2023 edition please contact Wendy Baily: wendy@obj.ca