Efficiency meets technology
Consolidating multiple facilities onto one centralized campus
Kasian and McCallum Sather Architects (MSA) led the design of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) COMPASS campus – a Traffic Operations Centre (TOC), Materials Engineering and Research Office (MERO) and aggregate storage building. The project was managed by Infrastructure Ontario. The TOC, completed in 2015, is Phase 1 of the overall COMPASS project, Phase 2 being the MERO building.
As part of MTO’s plans to improve the efficiency of traffic management services in Toronto and surrounding municipalities, the new Central Region COMPASS TOC addresses the needs of an Emergency Response facility, Joint Traffic Control Centre and Regional Action Group. The new facility enables TOC operators and managers to more effectively manage current and future operations.
The design of the new TOC includes special program space to accommodate security clearance and access, demonstration and communications areas, meeting rooms and public support spaces to welcome and orient visitors. The design team recommended the use of industrial materials, metal cladding and polished exposed concrete to reflect MTO operations as well as to facilitate accelerated production, delivery and installation, ensuring project completion in advance of the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto.
Sustainability & Accessibility
The barrier-free campus has bicycle storage and shower facilities, extensive canopied entrance vestibules for rain and snow protection, passive solar shading at the south facade and an accessible green roof. Toronto Green Standards were followed including special care to make the campus as bird-friendly as possible – lowered exterior lighting levels and a strategy to reduce nighttime ‘light traps’. Treating the exterior glazing with fritted glass – a proven approach to reducing reflection and the optics of transparency – is used extensively to maximize access to natural light while screening the building occupants from direct exterior view. A natural palette of materials maximizes light reflectance while providing above-norm acoustics values. LED fixtures on occupancy sensors offer energy efficient lighting throughout the facility.
A number of MTO departments actively participated in the design process and throughout the construction of Phase 1. Regular consultation and end-user meetings were organized with various MTO representatives and the consultant team as part of the Integrated Design Process.
The collaboration extended from the detailed joint review process of the HVAC system to suit the 24-hour operation of TOC, to the choice of materials in line with end user activities and operations in general. The TOC is equipped with raised access flooring to ensure supply of high volume/low velocity conditioned air to staff working in a technologically-enabled environment with equally demanding cooling loads.
Major program elements are zoned by function to ensure a cost effective servicing approach to mechanical and electrical systems. Exposed concrete floors are sprinklered with surface aggregate from a variety of locally sourced Ontario quarries – those same quarries used in road construction across MTO’s web of highways and bridges. Limestone aggregates from Dufferin County and Manitou were selected by the MERO research staff to highlight some of the work being conducted in the concrete and aggregate labs, and to provide another subtle layer to the wayfinding strategy.