BMW Group Canada Head Office
Partners-in-charge: Dermot Sweeny and Mary Jane Finlayson
Photo credits for BMW Canada Training Centre: Ovatio/Broccolini
BMW Group Canada is a custom-built High-perfromance Workplace, demonstrating a true integration of design and technology. Working with Urbacon, BMW selected our firm in 2006 to design and develop
their new turn-key headquarters north of Toronto on a 5.8-acre site. Our response to the client’s objectives not only provided increased human comfort, future flexibility, green values, brand enhancement, and churn costs, but it also accomplished this at significantly less cost than is normally associated with architectural design excellence and LEED® certified facilities. A collaborative process between the client, contractor and consultants combined innovative ideas and advanced technology solutions to deliver a building that has become a sentinel on par with the BMW brand.
The result is a 4-storey, High-performance Workplace that houses a unique program, combining office space, classroom facilities for BMW’s marketing school, state-of-the-art training labs for future technicians and an in-house cafeteria. The BMW Training Centre was a 2013 addition that provided highly functional spaces for training complete with ample daylight and a simple, clean palette of materials.
“A sparkling representation of the BMW brand, in Canada and around the world. It is innovative, conscious of its environment and a pleasure to take a seat in, just like our vehicles.”
President and CEO BMW Group Canada
Clients: Urbacon, BMW Canada
Size: 68,000 s.f.
Our Role: Architecture, Interior Design
LEED®: CS Silver
BMW Group Headquarters in Canada is a 4-storey High-performance Workplace that houses a unique program, combining office space, classroom facilities for BMW’s marketing school, state-of-the-art training labs for future technicians and an in-house cafeteria built in 2010. The BMW Training Centre was a welcome 2013 addition that provided highly functional spaces for training complete with ample daylight and a simple, clean palette of materials.
The BMW Canada Headquarters is located in the Barker Business Park near Toronto with its main façade addressing a major Ontario highway (404). Highly visible, the front façade projects BMW’s stellar reputation for performance, innovative design and quality. High-performance glazing, referred to as “windscreen”, slips past the main body of the building on the front façade. The strong horizontal lines and sliding alternating spandrel colours evoke and image of movement and speed, similar to photographs of streaking headlights on motorways at night. The calmer west façade opens to the ravine with its expansive, bucolic views. Moreover, the landscape design marries the building to the ravine by carrying the structural grid into the surrounding area with paved and planted areas. The main entrance, main patio and amenity spaces face the ravine and the landscape design carries the grid of the building with paved and planted areas consisting of native and drought tolerant species.
We were initially retained by BMW Group Canada to collaborate with them in developing their new headquarters. A schematic design was produced along with a performance specification that would deliver a turn-key facility. The goal was to design and build a work environment that would feature state-of-the-art systems and technologies, achieving a superior level of human comfort, flexibility and LEED® certification—all within a budget associated with standard ‘A’ type” suburban office buildings.
This facility, currently, houses BMW Group Canada’s 200 person staff who provide marketing, sales, financial services, accounting, human resources and IT functions. It is a measurably more comfortable, enjoyable workplace for these employee groups and a highly efficient use of office space—accomplished through the use of advanced technologies. Glass, exposed structural steel, concrete and light wood finishes were chosen to be consistent with the BMW corporate identity and to strengthen their core competencies of sustainability and design.
BMW Group Canada is a custom-built High-performance Workplace , demonstrating a true integration of design and technology. It uses a BTP low-velocity system to supply conditioned air which eliminates drafts and discomfort, allowing individuals to control the temperature in their own space. Private offices and meeting rooms are temperature-regulated with motorized dampers and individual thermostats with manual override for total comfort and control. All in-floor air diffusers are easily relocated for added comfort and allow for almost instant reconfiguration. The manual diffusers are not connected to duct work or mechanical equipment and can be located as required to provide maximum comfort and convenience.
The building’s façade is animated with operable windows that provide increased fresh air flow. Exterior sunshades protect the façade from direct sunlight exposure, eliminate glare and reduce solar gain. The upper surfaces of the sunshades, however, are treated with a reflective material which redirects the sunlight towards the ceiling within and, by extension, into the inner areas of the floor. They are integrated with an automated interior light shelf and blind system. The BMW building features indirect lighting using all standard energy efficient T5 fluorescent in-line fixtures. Indirect lighting provides a glare-free and even distribution of light throughout the space with far less need to move or adjust light fixtures to suit the tenant’s program. This allows for ongoing flexibility with reduced costs in both energy and churn. In addition, the elimination of glare is beneficial to all occupants resulting in less eye strain, better comfort and higher productivity. High-efficiency artificial lighting, in addition to the maximum level of natural light, is incorporated to provide desired exposure and atmosphere. The buildings feature vision glass from the floor to the underside of the ceiling. When adequate light levels are achieved at the perimeter of the building, light sensors automatically turn off artificial light within the affected zone and further energy savings are realized.
Offset cores resulting in large floor plates, and the raised floor system facilitates maximum future organizational flexibility without additional costs. Other sustainable features include low-flow plumbing fixtures and rainwater collection to reduce the use of potable water. An exposed circulation stair connects the four storeys on the interior, creating both physical and social connectivity.