Creating a vibrant, mixed-use industrial complex
Our 20+ year relationship with Qualico, one of Western Canada’s largest real estate developers, has resulted in multiple projects and master plans that have reshaped Edmonton’s downtown core. Our second BC collaboration came after the co-completion of the Willoughby master plan project, and is a mixed-use industrial complex used as their Surrey Headquarters. They had a parcel of land, a vision for the type of building they wanted to create and looked to us to materialize that vision.
Our main challenge was to find a way to maximize the density of the site while using solely above-grade parking. They wanted the site to have a diverse program consisting of two buildings – their main office to the east, and a multi-unit strata industrial component to the west. In between the two, we allocated the parking to serve both. Underground parking was quickly ruled out as a cost prohibitive measure, so we had to test different site planning options to find the balance we needed. The mixed programming also provided a unique challenge to our aesthetic design strategy. We knew material selection, finishes, and form had to reflect the industrial and customer facing goals of both Qualico and future tenants.
Each member of the project team brought their own expertise to the table. We effortlessly combined our design excellence with their development strategy to create a unique experience for the site.”
Our industrial team designed the warehouse building using a prefabricated, tilt-up construction process in mind to maximize efficiency and overall cost while maintaining control of the look and feel. Our design drivers centred around achieving the functionality of an industrial complex with the approachability of a customer-facing storefront and office space. An example of where that materializes is with the set back service bay doors in the strata component. When combined with a staggered façade articulation and a graded colour scheme, our goal of creating individual spaces for each tenant to welcome customers to their own space was achieved. A comparative analysis of the neighbourhood validated our approach as we identified this diversity of programming and design strategy as a unique offering.
The office building resulted in three stories of mixed-use, with Qualico and its subsidiaries occupying the top two floors and the ground floor designated for commercial rental units. This further diversification of programming gave them the option of tailoring the commercial offerings in the building to best suit the needs of their employees. For example, a daycare, café, or restaurant were potential ideas brought forth during design development. We assisted in the completion of the development permit to achieve an integrated architectural and interior design package.
The strata industrial component on the opposite side of the site provides nearly 1,500 sq.m. of dedicated warehouse and customer-facing space. The design strategy and tools we implemented help to create individual units within the connected complex. The shared resources and diverse programming of the site allow each tenant to mutually benefit from the proximity while not sacrificing space. We applied sustainability principles to the design of both buildings including passive shading, controlled façade exposure and orientation, and landscaping techniques. We wanted their headquarters to reflect their commitment to developing sustainable, forward-thinking projects and used our expertise to guide that process.
The mixed-use approach to the traditional industrial office site resulted in a community-oriented destination point for employees and customers alike. We maximized the density of the site and the return on investment made by Qualico to develop their property, while improving their employee experience.
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