This architecture, interiors and urban design studio is located on the 18th floor of a corporate office tower in the core of a city in the throes of robust renewal. The space was designed collaboratively by the entire team of designers and support staff that would go on to occupy it. Bathed in natural light, every workstation in the studio is provided with unobstructed city views. There are no private offices, which eliminates hierarchy and nurtures collaboration among the team. The firm has gained a new level of connection with their work by being literally enveloped by the city. In fact, many of the firm’s projects are visible from the studio. All existing ceilings and floor finishes were removed. Most of the final design incorporates exposed concrete floors and ceilings to increase the perception of height and create a raw aesthetic feel to the space, aligning with the firm’s penchant for simple, clear and minimal design solutions. Balancing the rawness of the exposed concrete are whispers of light wood and soft, supple handed textiles in hues of pink and yellow. Multi-coloured throw rugs in blues, pinks and yellows soften the concrete floor while a rocking chair beckons you to sit awhile. Swaths of pink interior glazing seen immediately upon entering the studio lend a rosy hue to dramatic sunsets via the Event Space, an open multi-purpose area that functions as a waiting room for clients, vendors and guests; a café; a lunch room; and event space for world events/sports/ news/movies and continuing education lunch n learns, informal meeting space and work space. Here, a series of programmed and facilitated panel discussions are regularly held to discuss design and policy issues affecting the city and its residents, facilitating deeper community connections. The space is designed to employ two main axes, east-west + north-south. Ex-pansive glazing permits the space to be as open as possible, connecting you with your surroundings instantly upon entry to the studio, and from anywhere on the floor. This connection immediately orients you giving a sense of ease and comfort the moment you arrive. The Boardroom and Fabrication Lab + Materials Library are clearly visible upon arrival and provide critical infrastructure for exper-imentation and innovation, housing a 3D printer, laser cutter, cutters, full Virtual Reality capabilities, and materials samples. The en-tire studio is equipped with wi-fi helping to enable this agile workspace. A shower and nap room round out the facilities, provided to support a variety of different work and life styles. The space is designed to support a positive and collaborative work culture based on a clear set of shared values.
The building dates from 1890 and was originally home to the Hamilton Buggy Whip Manufacturing company. When acquired in 2012, siding blocked its expansive windows and the interior was timeworn from its previous uses. The post and beam structure and interior brick surfaces were cleaned of many years of paint and left exposed to reveal the building’s history to its new inhabitants. The project has received a great deal of positive community attention and local support, and was awarded a Heritage Property Conservation Award from the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee. The second floor is home to downtown Hamilton’s first co-working space. Two glazed meeting rooms/breakaway spaces were provided along the eastern wall. Central to the space is a lounge with tiered upholstered seating that face the staircase projection wall. Along the western and southern walls is the kitchen/café space, which boasts clean minimal white counters and a touchdown station running along the length of windows. The lounge and the touchdown station are fully wired, offering secondary working spaces. They also offer great flexibility for holding community events, lunch and learns, movie nights and presentations.
2013 Heritage Property Conservation Award, Hamilton Municipal Heritage CommitteePublicity
BUILDING MAGAZINE – Canada, May 2017, Share and Share Alike, The Seedworks Urban Offices.
This office renovation provides a new home for Real Properties, the property managers of Jackson Square Mall in Hamilton. Real Properties wanted an office that matched their recent rebranding efforts across the 40 year old mall. They decided to move locations for their new office from an office unit in a tower attached to the mall, to a more unique and prominent unit on the plaza level of the mall. The existing space was a raw concrete space, initially designed to be a restaurant, but was never developed. The space was designed as a procession from public functions in the front to private functions in the back. The continuous space is comprised of two distinct portions, a lower one overlooking the plaza, and double height space towards the back. The double height space received very little natural light. However, by carefully reviewing existing drawings dating back to the 1970s, a blocked in clerestory window was discovered. Opening and reactivating this feature transformed the quality of the space. For the new office, Yale properties were shifting from a private office model to an open plan design. This required in-depth client feedback during the schematic design phase.
Along with the open plan office space, the client wanted a private meeting space, a board room, a visible reception point with access control, and a gathering area. Throughout the project, Baltic birch millwork is utilized as a space defining tool, dividing and connecting spaces. The design combines existing finishes with new finishes, exposed natural raw textures with clean uniform surfaces, and soft materials against harder ones. The branding and cultural objectives of the client were achieved by designing an office that matches their fresh new image, and provides a space that facilitates a new collaborative office culture.
The second floor of a three-storey commercial warehouse in Toronto’s oldest standing row of buildings, is now home to a busy, real estate/design PR Firm. dpai was commissioned to design a space that enables the firm’s flexible and collaborative work style, while functionally and aesthetically aligning with the firm’s creative philosophy.
The existing textured, minimalist palette was emphasized. A boardroom and a pitch room was carved out with floor-to-ceiling glass partitions. At the back of the space, a new kitchenette opens onto an informal lounge area and a touch-down station was paired with lockable file storage.
The large, custom pendant fixture by Toronto’s Lightmaker Studio was intimately suspended over a modular custom sofa set upholstered in bright, eclectic fabrics. The blackened brass of the pendant fixture echoes the existing steel hoist beam, which lent a helpful hand in the fixture’s installation.
The Caroline Family Health Team of Burlington, with eight physicians, allied health professionals and support staff required more space to house their busy practice. Several ideas were explored through feasibility studies, with the resulting solution to relocate the practice to a more suitable location with a total interior renovation to meet the needs of the clinic. The project explored the adaptation of a specific, user-generated design to an existing industrial “big box” space. The office layout was developed through participatory design workshops which included the entire clinic’s staff and the dpai team.
The Cannon Knitting Mills are a historic complex of industrial buildings in Hamilton, dating back as early as the mid-19th century. The Mills were for generations an economic powerhouse in Hamilton as home to the Chipman-Holton Knitting Co. The buildings’ history is ready to be reclaimed as plans are drawn for its next chapter — as pioneers in sustainable urban growth strategies, DPAI has been at the forefront of envisioning the rebirth of the Cannon Knitting Mills as a community and entrepreneurial hub in the city.
With a footprint of half a city block and rising to three to four storeys, the Mills are capable of housing a diverse and mutually-supporting range of programmatic activity, from live-work studio space opening onto Beasley Park, open-plan office space in century-old brick warehouse, to large public exhibition space and atrium and a brew-pub in the cavernous old boiler room. The complex will be extensively renovated with new sprinkler, mechanical and electrical systems. The existing timber frame structure will be restored and repaired as required. The final scheme will incorporate 90 new residential units with storage and amenity space included. New retail/ commercial space at street level will be incorporated.
The Cannon Knitting Mills looms over Beasley Park: at 110,000 square feet of the richest urban industrial space in Hamilton, the complex of five adjoined brick buildings is poised to be a game-changer in the city’s already-rapid downtown renaissance. With portions dating to the 1850s, the complex stands as a monument to Hamilton’s urban-architectural grace of a rich industrial heritage. DPAI is proud to be leading the ongoing development strategies for this pivotal project.