High-quality work environments are always in demand. Toronto has a history of re-purposing 100-year-old industrial post-and-beam wood buildings into office space. A combination of charm, warmth, and character makes these spaces incredibly appealing for their occupants. We know firsthand how wonderful these spaces are – our office is located in an 8-storey brick and beam building in downtown Toronto.

Wicksteed Innovation Centre, Toronto (MSE with studioCANOO Architecture); Rendering: Aareas

This makes us ecstatic to be designing a new building for Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood which will make office space accessible to the nearby community rather than the traditional trek downtown. Located in a historically industrial neighbourhood, now a business park, the new Wicksteed Innovation Centre will be located within a 5-minute walk of Toronto’s new Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The building will feature 6-storeys of above-ground mass timber construction with over 13,000 sq. ft. per floor. The ground floor will have retail spaces to service the building occupants and the local neighbourhood.

The flat iron building design reflects the shape of the plot. Mass timber works well to accommodate the floor plates and stepping back at the upper level. Prefabricated mass timber offers the advantage of reduced construction time on site and improved quality control. This also lessens the disruption to the neighbourhood.

Rendering: Aareas

Timber has the added benefit of improving the quality of the workspaces. People are more grounded and connected with the environment when they are in contact with natural materials, natural light, and natural views. These features of mass timber design have been found to reduce sick days, reduce absenteeism, and increase productivity.

Based on our years of experience designing prefabricated mass timber structures, our design focuses on early planning, site access issues such as staging and storage, sequencing, equipment in addition to our specialized mass timber modelling and analysis. Careful attention to these and other considerations are key to the successful construction of mass timber buildings. Other innovations in the design will be revealed at a later date.

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