B+H’s Toronto Studio is in a high-density area in the heart of the downtown core and is within walking distance to many amenities, encouraging employees to walk, bike or take public transit to work, particularly since the building doesn’t offer parking. Close to the city’s main arteries, the studio is a 5-minute walk to all Toronto Transit options including streetcars, buses, and subways, and a 10-minute walk to GO trains for out-of-city connections.
The building is a restored historical Art Deco office tower – the Canada Permanent Building – which opened in 1930 and was originally designed by Canadian architect Henry Sproatt. The integrity of the structure, its history, and architectural elements, such as the limestone façade and gargoyles, were preserved with upgrades to the service and quality of the space including significant mechanical and electrical enhancements. End-of-Trip Facilities were added that can be accessed from the main lobby and is available for use by all occupants, including changerooms, showers, and storage for 138 bicycles. The lobby of the original building, the grand banking hall and the original bas-relief elevator doors were also preserved. Structural steel columns have been exposed to convey the story of the building by alluding to the splendor and sophistication of its era.
Upon entering the B+H studio, visitors come across meeting rooms, an open collaborative space called The Sandbox and a client coffee area. The café is located further down the main hallway with workplace settings on the north side of the studio. To enhance the well-being of talent, the design increases access to natural light and views as much as possible and includes green plants. A variety of space types support solo and team activities, allowing employees to select the space that’s best suited for their activities and tasks.
Over 50% of the interior non-structural walls are demountable, more than half the ceiling area is exposed slab, and acoustic ceiling elements are moveable to support future flexibility. Low-emitting materials meeting standards such as Green Guard Gold and CRI Green Label Plus were selected. Several of the chosen materials provided a health product declaration, Declare label, or Cradle to Cradle certification which provided information on the material ingredients. Floors in circulation areas are polished concrete with selective use of carpet throughout to minimize the use of new material, whereas new materials, furniture and items include approximately 50% recycled content, where possible.
With no waste or recycling containers at individual desks, millwork throughout contains separate containers for different waste streams: waste, compost, recyclables, and e-waste. Employees are encouraged to get up to use freestanding waste containers encouraging. During the construction phase, a plan was implemented to divert a minimum of 75% of construction and demolition waste from landfill.
All workstations and some collaboration spaces have sit-stand worksurfaces that facilitate changes in posture throughout the day, while other workplace settings have higher surfaces. Sound masking has been installed throughout to mitigate uncomfortable acoustic disruptions and to increase speech privacy.
Ventilation was designed to ensure optimal indoor air quality (IAQ) and sensors provide employees and visitors with IAQ data via Kaiterra Dashboards on mobile devices. Monitoring sensors were installed in many densely occupied areas like meeting and collaboration spaces to automatically adjust HVAC systems when air quality is out of balance. Finally, advanced lighting controls with daylight sensing were installed and non-mercury light fixtures are connected to a central lighting control system allowing fixtures to be dimmed and programmed on occupancy sensors. All aspects of the design of B+H’s Toronto Studio were carefully applied to target LEED Silver rating and encourage the health and well-being of talent, while maintaining the historical character of the building.