Montreal and Ottawa-based firm Figurr Architects Collective has created warm and sun-filled interiors redefining the notion of workplace in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Named Caivan / ABIC Head Office, the new 50,000-square-foot (4,645-square-metre) head office breaks the traditional concepts of collaborative workplace design and brings new visions into a creative atmosphere.
The new head office houses for two innovative companies: Caivan and its subsidiary organization, the Advanced Building Innovation Company (ABIC).
According to Figurr Architects Collective, the design was envisioned as a modern workplace that combines elements with warm textures and natural light to create a space brimming with creativity.
Located in Barrhaven, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa, and close to a growing community, Caivan / ABIC’s new headquarters and manufacturing plant supports the company’s long-term vision of creating a modern work environment for their employees, and a dynamic new space to support the homeowner journey and their expanding community offerings.
The new office is the second phase of a multi-phased construction project.
The first phase was also designed by Figurr Architects Collective, which was a fast-tracked fabrication facility that houses innovative robotic fabrication systems.
The firm’s new approach builds sustainable, prefabricated residential home panels for Caivan’s home-building business.
The second phase is a new two-level headquarters, includes administrative spaces, a public sales centre, a design centre, an “experience centre,” a reception area, a town hall atrium, a boardroom, meeting rooms, a combination of open and closed office spaces, a series of kitchenettes throughout the building to support the team, and touchpoints where the team can come together for informal collaboration and conversation.
A spacious town hall atrium makes up the distinctive element of the project, which connects all of Caivan’s internal community, including sales, the design centre, fabrication, and administration.
“It doesn’t feel like your typical corporate office. This forward-thinking workplace has more in common with a modern public building supporting a rich community, one that everyone wants to hang out in,” said Figurr Architects Collective.
“The town hall atrium can hold company-wide events, keeping Caivan’s team informed on all aspects of the business,” the office added.
The sun-filled communal space has expansive bird-safe glass walls that link the indoors and outdoors. To ensure the town hall atrium would be a comfortable place to work throughout the day, the design team spent a great deal of time studying the sun’s angles and analyzing reflections in the glass design.
As seen throughout the space, wood was a central part of the design strategy as part of a commitment to minimize the project’s environmental impact.
The architects incorporated wood in an efficient, conservation-minded approach, reflecting Caivan’s approach to all of its residential projects.
Innovative to the Core
The new head office breaks away from the traditional showroom experience and acts as a showpiece representing the company’s commitment to its team, the homeowner experience, design innovation, and craftsmanship.
Caivan wanted to create an immersive visitor experience. As such, the “experience centre,” includes opportunities to learn about ABIC’s unique manufacturing process and the Caivan values as an integrated land developer and homebuilder.
The showroom includes a mezzanine with views into the company’s fabrication facilities. This connection between the design centre and the fabrication plant gives prospective homeowners a behind-the-scenes look at how their home is manufactured.
Site challenges informed the design
This project encountered several design challenges. Situated on top of an old quarry, the site conditions were challenging to navigate. After initial design approvals and test digs, the building’s location changed.
Figurr’s design team and the contractors were agile enough to adapt to unforeseen conditions and to replan the design to meet the new site constraints.
Like every other project over the past few years, the pandemic created many challenges. Most of all, to the project timeline, including securing trades, supply line delays, and distancing protocols. Despite these challenges, the new head office achieved its goals and gave the company a modern and efficient building to support its team.
Collaboration is the key to high-calibre design
Innovation, precision, and clean approaches to design were essential in this project. The building integrates wood and steel columns, leaving nothing exposed, and everything fits together seamlessly.
Mechanical ducts are hidden from view, and electrical work is embedded in the structure. It was essential that everyone on the team was part of the vision. Every detail of the design was developed in collaboration with the applicable trades.
Figurr’s modern workplace design reflects Caivan’s highly refined brand and provides them with a sophisticated new office that suits their team now and in the future.
Project Name: Caivan / ABIC Head Office
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Phase One: 100,000 ft2 Manufacturing plant
Phase Two: 50,000 ft2 Corporate Office
Completion Date: January 2023
Client: Caivan / ABIC (The Advanced Building Innovation Company)
Project Sector: Corporate Office/ Commercial / Industrial
Contractor: BBS Construction
Project Manager: BBS Construction
Interior Design: Figurr
Landscape: nak design strategies
Mechanical Engineers: Goodkey Weedmark
Structural Engineers: Cleland Jardine
Civil Engineers: Dsel
Electrical Engineers: Drycore / WSP
Lighting: Gabriel McKinnon
Sales Centre Interiors: Figur3
Wood: Timber Systems
All images © Tom Arban Photography.
All drawings © Figurr Architects Collective.
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Figurr Architects Collective