Bringing more light to Ontario’s transportation operations

Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Year Completed

2016, 2021

Client

Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Location

Toronto, ON

Size

137,190 SF

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/01

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Creating a home for traffic specialists, researchers, and administration

The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO)’s Traffic Operations Centre (TOC) and Centre for Excellence in Transportation Infrastructure (CETI) ensure the safe and efficient flow of traffic across some of Ontario’s busiest road networks.

The engineers, technicians, scientists, and researchers that work in these facilities study car patterns and road conditions and provide a 24 hour/day service; looking at the world through giant screens, monitoring traffic signals and presenting real-time information to motorists and media on road conditions. At the same time the CETI team is conducting extensive material testing to guide , inform and direct the ongoing and future MTO projects.

MTO’s facilities were out of date. They wanted to create a modern facility for all their staff on one campus that provided collaboration space, light and places to gather, while still creating a productive environment for this unique vocation.

/02

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Providing a sustainable new work facility

The new campus combined traffic management and research teams from multiple locations into one workplace, responsible for monitoring and managing transportation flows, training, research and emergency response.

Our challenge was to create an inclusive work environment that empowered the transit sector teams to conduct these very important jobs to their fullest potential.

PROJECT INSIGHT

The only way you can meet the goals and desires of the client is to collaborate. Doing this achieves excellence and a level of expectations that serves the whole project team.

Sanja Djulepa

Principal

/03

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Collaborating to merge complex systems  

Since various departments of MTO were involved, we conducted extensive stakeholder engagement sessions and workshops throughout the design stage to ensure all complex requirements were met.

Steel and cold rolled metal were the inspiration for the new facility. Flexibility, productivity, control, transparency, and an overall theme of the road drove both the interior and exterior design strategy. For example, the CETI studies several raw materials, including aluminum, steel, concrete, and aggregate — we approached the design with the intention of depicting these materials within the facility itself.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation Campus interior metal ceiling
Ontario Ministry of Transportation Campus under construction
Ontario Ministry of Transportation Campus under construction

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Providing flexible control to yield productivity

We designed the project holistically, but construction took place over two phases. The TOC blends advanced technology with flexible comfort. Split over two floors, large windows give views to Highway 400 while allowing light to permeate throughout the building.

Glazed windows are a buffer for the ground floor, where workstations are equipped with sophisticated ergonomic equipment and climate control technology. On the top floor are large meeting areas to host delegates, training activities and staff gatherings— all receiving generous amounts of natural light.

The CETI includes a series of sophisticated research laboratories, high-density storage, garages, a wellness centre, break rooms and a three-storey administration building.

Composition is punctuated by two entry pavilions rendered in green, grey and charcoal vertical zinc slats. Finally, all buildings have green roof systems, completely covered with vegetation which helped the campus achieve LEED Silver certification.

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Yielding results across Ontario 

Toronto drivers navigate some of the heaviest traffic in the country – spending hundreds of hours per year stuck in rush hour. The research and traffic monitoring that occurs at this campus improves traffic control, road maintenance and construction, and provides important data to create projections for future transportation infrastructure. We’re proud to share the new campus won the Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects Award of Excellence 2016.

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