Friday, October 31st, 2014
Photos by Steve Tsai Photography
Text by Emma Janzen
When The Coca-Cola Company acquired the North American operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises in 2010, Coca-Cola Canada needed to merge operations into one centralized facility. Knowing the existing suburban offices would not accommodate their growing needs, the management team targeted the dynamic energy of downtown Toronto to infuse the organization with a renewed sense of vigor.
The new LEED CI Silver- certified headquarters—a 103,000-square-foot, three- story addition perched on top of the former Toronto Sun offices—reflects the company’s business imperatives of delivering happiness from the façade down to the floor plan.
For the exterior, design firm Figure 3 teamed up with building developers First Gulf and Pellow + Associ- ates Architects to create a wavy glass envelope design to mimic the brand’s iconic “Coca-Cola wave,” and signal to the public that the offices will embody a bold but light-hearted sense of playfulness.
Inside, in order to cultivate a vibrant atmosphere where employees felt engaged and invested in the business’s day-to-day activities, the building is designed into four specific areas or “zones” delineated by the sorts of activities that take place within each. At the core, a central atrium spanning from the ground level to the roof allows buckets of natural daylight to wash through open public spaces, encouraging socialization both in those areas and in the flanking cafeteria and outdoor terrace. Conference areas for meetings and lounges surround the atrium, and portals that lead to quieter office areas of each floor act as transitional “decompression zones” that separate the social activities from workspaces.
A sub-project of the overall design is a building-wide environmental branding scheme that features wall- sized graphics and art installations from the company archives, featuring both current and historic campaigns. Figure 3 principal and strategic partner on the project Caroline Hughes says the goal is to give employees the feeling that they are an immediate part of the company’s global, national, and local initiatives. “By designing a space that focuses on connecting Coke’s people to their workplace, people feel connected to one another, the company, and of course, their work, ” she says.
Hughes also says she believes the overall design succeeds at keeping employees engaged on all intended levels. “The best thing about the design of the new Coca-Cola Canada HQ? Hearing that Coke’s people are happy working there.”