Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
TELUS Garden in British Columbia, Canada by office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb)
July 7th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb)
To emphasize its status as a leading organization in the world of telecommunications that is also civically, culturally and environmentally minded, TELUS collaborated with Westbank to transform an entire city block of prime downtown Vancouver realestate into an inspiring workplace and a welcoming destination for the downtown community. The ambitious one-million-squarefoot, $750 million development designed by Henriquez Architects comprises a 24-floor office tower and a 53-floor residential tower, with nine floors dedicated to TELUS’ national headquarters.
office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb) was hired to create a thoroughly modern interior fit-out for the company’s 1000 employee office that would reflect its brand through an environment that would be understated and functional, warm and inviting and celebrating of its locale—Canada’s West Coast landscape. They wanted the interiors to underscore TELUS’ company values (innovation, teamwork, growth, change and opportunity); and also demonstrate the brand’s stature through the most state-of the-art workplace technologies.
Creating a distinct sense of place, omb imbued the complex with local materials, particularly natural toned wood, interior gardens and art. Setting the overall tone for the complex, the welcoming, wood-clad lobby/reception area was framed with an ombdesigned screen of abstracted leaf petals derived from TELUS branding, compressing the space and creating a sense of release in the multi-storey sky lobby garden. Inserted into this double height four storey space, floating “skybox meeting rooms,” an architectural first in Vancouver, increase programming capacity, link and animate every floor, merge the public and private realms and give users a memorable connection to the city. These float over raised gardens planted with live trees and shrubs – recalling many offices of the post-modern period, but not in vogue for many years.
The design team initiated and curated a comprehensive, customized art program to ensure the integration of art, interior design and client vision from the earliest stages. Founded on a nature-based theme – ‘Materials of Meaning’, the artworks, all by Canadian artists, express at different levels of abstraction the role of copper, wood and textiles as means to transfer knowledge, celebrate history and connect people.
Embracing TELUS’ combination of resident and mobile workers, omb fitted the headquarters with varied meeting spaces to foster different work styles, all fully yet discreetly wired. Offering differing levels of interaction along with acoustic and visual privacy, a variety of collaborative areas were constructed. The varied workspaces include standing touchdown (mobile) workstations along with formal meeting rooms, telepresence conference facilities and various lounges, designed to promote impromptu collaborations and teamwork. Interior gardens and planted roof decks also function as meeting places and provide a unique connection of workspace to the exterior landscape with dramatic views of the city and its natural mountain and ocean context. Special amenities, such as Café Fresh for staff and an extensive kitchen/lounge foster an office environment that values team building. Various spaces illustrate TELUS’ dynamic and multifaceted approach to telecommunications, including The Innovation Centre, where development teams test and showcase nascent technologies, ideas and concepts, as well as the TELUS Studios, where production teams develop branded documentary shorts in house.
With great attention to quality of space, light, views, art, furnishings and finishes, from the urban scale to the individual elements, omb crafted interiors that combine a sense of importance and modesty, timelessness and flexibility, capturing the essence of TELUS’ brand and leadership in Canadian and international telecommunications.
The office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb) is an energetic, award-winning, full-services design firm in Vancouver, Canada. We are committed to sustainable building practices, with a focus on the success of our clients and our communities. omb principals Steve McFarlane and Michelle Biggar have been in practice together for 12 years, and are supported by the creative energy of 34 design professionals. Intentionally multidisciplinary, our practice embraces architecture, interior design, graphic design, wayfinding, and branding, as well as master planning and urban design. We believe that the thoughtful integration of all these disciplines is the key to our unique success, and we strive for this on all projects.
Our practice embraces a diverse array of building types and scales which we believe contributes to the success of all the projects we undertake. We challenge the attitude of pre-conceived ideas, and work hard to find creative design solutions particular to your specific goals and needs. We specialize in problem solving, consensus building and responsible design solutions that come together in thoughtful, welcoming, and sustainable built work.
omb is committed to buildings that are environmentally responsible and have marshalled several projects through the LEED® process for certification at various levels throughout our history. One third of our omb colleagues hold LEED® accreditation.
We always encourage our clients to enhance the sustainability objectives of the project using passive techniques.
Our portfolio is diverse. It demonstrates that our strengths – in problem solving, consensus building and responsible design solutions – come together in thoughtful, welcoming, and sustainable built work. Cross-pollination of ideas across projects – big and small – is how we continue to be invigorated by our work. We strive to bring innovation to every project.