TELUS Garden Office
Gregory Henriquez / Henriquez Partners Architects
Michelle Biggar / office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers inc. (Office Fit-Out Architect) Anthony El-Araj / Glotman Simpson (Structural Engineer) Goran Ostojic / Integral Group (Mechanical Engineer / LEED Consultant) Steve Nemetz / Nemetz & Associates (Electrical Engineer) Frank Mattia / LMDG Building Code Consultants (Code Consultant) Kelty McKinnon / PFS Studio (Landscape Architect) Brian Hubbs / RDH Building Science (Envelope Consultant)
500 Georgia Office Partnership
Ed White (all photographs, except 4) Andrew Latrielle (only photograph 4)
From the earliest sketches, the design team sought to humanize the tower by reducing its scale, while making the building’s sustainability strategies visible to the public. The east and west façades were peeled away from the volumetric middle and treated as planes of glass with articulated vertical glass sunshades. The south façade, by contrast, is an expanse of horizontal aluminum sunshades, while the north façade facing the harbour is floor-to-ceiling glass. As the tower could not have a presence in the skyline due to height restrictions, its presence was established by a steel bridge-like structure that penetrates through the tower and spans across the site, cantilevering over the streets in floating Sky Gardens. These semi-public Sky Gardens are four-story spaces with meeting rooms suspended within them. They are conceived as “urban rooms” where the public face of the corporation is in full view to the pedestrians below. Nature is also purposely woven into the fabric of the building; every roof is planted with gardens and there is a mix of accessible public and private outdoor spaces. The experience begins in the Lobby, where the soaring wood pavilion transforms into a glass enclosed environment of trees, brooks and waterfalls. This was a deliberately radical departure from the usual empty, cold, stone clad spaces of the corporate world.
When one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, TELUS, needed to rebuild their corporate headquarters, they made a deliberate decision to stay in Vancouver despite more affordable options in other cities. What began as the redevelopment of a single site morphed into the construction of an entire city block, and the creation of a complex called TELUS Garden. At the heart of this development is the 22-storey, 500,000 square feet signature office tower TELUS Garden Office. Although TELUS Garden began with the simple aspiration to replace existing aging office space, the opportunity quickly grew into a fundamental reexamination of how we live and work in the office, the city, and the world. At the forefront of the project were larger questions, such as a corporation’s responsibility to be a leader in environmental stewardship, and how this could be leveraged through technology and the new digital economy. At the same time, the City of Vancouver was struggling with the unsustainable fate of becoming a “Resort City” where citizens lived and played downtown but worked elsewhere. TELUS Garden Office became an opportunity to send a strong message through design. The building and redevelopment itself became a symbol of a new commitment to a better work environment, a better city, and a better world.
With a total of 91 credits achieved, TELUS Garden’s headquarters is the highest scoring LEED Platinum certified office building in Canada. Sustainable innovations include: • A district energy system that reduces demand from conventional energy sources by 80 per cent and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than one million kilograms per year—the equivalent of planting 400,000 trees per year. Low-grade heat energy, that would otherwise be wasted, is captured from an existing on-site telecommunications building, along with energy from the rooftop solar panels, and the office tower’s cooling system. This captured heat energy is used to heat and cool air and water throughout the development. • Raised floors which include a displacement ventilation system providing 100 per cent fresh air supply to residents and workers, rather than the recycled air typical of towers and conventional office buildings. • High-efficiency motion sensor lighting to significantly reduce energy consumption. • Passive solar shading devices such as the horizontal sunshades and vertical glass fins. • Charging stations in the parking garage for electric vehicles and secure bike storage with shower facilities. In the words of our client, “As one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America, TELUS Garden stands as an architectural icon that exemplifies our brand, reflects our values and symbolizes our deep appreciation of our team members for their dedication to connecting people and communities across Canada.”