omb imbues the complex with local materials, particularly natural toned wood, interior gardens and art
Following an extensive review, the Canada Green Building Council awarded TELUS Garden Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. This is the highest rating a building development can receive. This honor was presented in March this year at the launch of the Smart Prosperity initiative at TELUS Garden, attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle is a founding member of the Smart Prosperity initiative, a new group of Canadian leaders committed to advancing innovation and accelerating Canada’s transition to a stronger, cleaner economy.
“Today, we celebrate TELUS Garden, the transformative centerpiece of a revitalized city block and our team’s new home in the heart of Downtown Vancouver,” said Andrea Goertz, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, TELUS. “With great pride, we opened our doors last fall and welcomed our community to experience this innovative space and become inspired by the promise it holds for future generations. Indeed, 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.”
The result of a partnership between TELUS and Westbank, the one million square foot TELUS Garden development includes a 22-storey signature office tower and a 47-storey residential tower currently under construction and targeting LEED Gold standards with 424 green homes and retail space along Robson and Richards Streets.
“TELUS continues to push the boundaries on sustainability through its focus on innovation, and that is even more evident today as we present LEED Platinum certification for the TELUS Garden development,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of Canada Green Building Council. “This certification represents much more than an environmental accomplishment; it is a compelling example of the leadership in the corporate sector and of the opportunity that exists for business to contribute to the global movement towards sustainable buildings and green cities, health and well-being for all.”
The building has a district energy system that will reduce demand from conventional energy sources by 80 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than one million kilograms a year. The system recovers energy from the neighboring telecommunications building that would normally be wasted and uses it to heat and cool air and water throughout the development. It also has Vancouver’s largest solar panel array on the office tower’s rooftop, reducing reliance on conventional commercial electricity; rainwater capture systems to irrigate gardens throughout the development; 10,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space and garden terraces on six levels planted with a community food garden that will be tended by TELUS team members, indigenous trees and hundreds of plants species.
Other unique features include an iconic architectural canopy along Georgia Street that provides coverage to the new public plaza, which also features seating, music and a free Wi-Fi zone; Vancouver’s first cantilevered office spaces above city sidewalks, which enhance the office building’s design while maximizing the use of vertical space; a media façade that displays community programing including visual arts created by local students and arts organizations; advanced building systems, which include a ventilation system providing fresh air to residents and workers, rather than the recycled air typical of towers; high-efficiency motion sensor lighting to significantly reduce energy consumption; and charging stations for electric vehicles and bike storage, with showers for team members.
The building encompasses 450,000 square feet of new office space and 65,000 square feet of new retail space, including TELUS’ flagship 2,300 square foot retail store. More than 1,000 TELUS team members as well as tenants including Amazon, Accenture, Capstone Mining and law firm Bull Housser & Tupper are now working from the office tower, which is part of the $750 million development that has transformed an underutilized prime block of downtown real estate between Georgia, Robson, Seymour and Richards Streets into a showcase of architecture, design, environmental stewardship and advanced technology.
“The LEED Platinum certification embodies our commitment and dedication to create a world class development where the sustainable design not only mirrors the culture and values of TELUS team members but also the tenants and businesses who have now become a welcomed part of this environmentally conscious community,” said Ian Gillespie, President of Westbank. “We’re eager to extend that culture to the future residents who will call TELUS Garden home as we complete the residential tower over the next few months.”
TELUS has long called British Columbia home. The company’s new LEED Platinum workplace reinforces its commitment to the City of Vancouver, including supporting the city’s goal of becoming the greenest city in the world. TELUS and Westbank registered TELUS Garden with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification candidate under the LEED Canada for Core and Shell Development 2009 Rating System in May 2015. The companies aimed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest possible level, and were formally granted the distinction in February 2016.
Office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers (omb) were hired to create a thoroughly modern interior fit-out for the company’s 1,000 employee office that would reflect its brand through an environment that would be understated and functional, warm and inviting and celebrating of its locale – Canada’s West Coast landscape. They wanted the interiors to underscore TELUS’ company values (innovation, teamwork, growth, change and opportunity); and also demonstrate the brand’s stature through the most state-of the-art workplace technologies.
Creating a distinct sense of place, omb imbued the complex with local materials, particularly natural toned wood, interior gardens and art. Setting the overall tone for the complex, the welcoming, wood-clad lobby/reception area was framed with an omb-designed screen of abstracted leaf petals derived from TELUS branding, compressing the space and creating a sense of release in the multi-storey sky lobby garden. Inserted into this double height four storey space are floating “skybox meeting rooms,” an architectural first in Vancouver, which increase programming capacity, link and animate every floor, merge the public and private realms and give users a memorable connection to the city. These float over raised gardens planted with live trees and shrubs – recalling many offices of the post-modern period, but not in vogue for many years.
The design team initiated and curated a comprehensive, customized art program to ensure the integration of art, interior design and client vision from the earliest stages. Founded on a nature-based theme – ‘Materials of Meaning’, the artworks, all by Canadian artists, express at different levels of abstraction the role of copper, wood and textiles as a means to transfer knowledge, celebrate history and connect people.
Embracing TELUS’ combination of resident and mobile workers, omb fitted the headquarters with varied meeting spaces to foster different work styles, all fully yet discreetly wired. Offering differing levels of interaction along with acoustic and visual privacy, a variety of collaborative areas were constructed. The varied workspaces include standing touchdown (mobile) workstations along with formal meeting rooms, telepresence conference facilities and various lounges, designed to promote impromptu collaborations and teamwork. Interior gardens and planted roof decks also function as meeting places and provide a unique connection of workspace to the exterior landscape with dramatic views of the city and its natural mountain and ocean context.
Special amenities, such as Café Fresh for staff and an extensive kitchen/lounge foster an office environment that values team building. Various spaces illustrate TELUS’ dynamic and multifaceted approach to telecommunications, including The Innovation Center, where development teams test and showcase nascent technologies, ideas and concepts, as well as the TELUS Studios, where production teams develop branded documentary shorts in house. With great attention to quality of space, light, views, art, furnishings and finishes, from the urban scale to the individual elements, omb have crafted interiors that combine a sense of importance and modesty, timelessness and flexibility, capturing the essence of TELUS’ brand and leadership in Canadian and international telecommunications.
omb chose to utilize wood that was regionally relevant to the project as a dominant interior material. From a number of possible species, Red Alder was chosen for its inherent environmental and aesthetic qualities; a prolific, fast growing species that is medium in strength, and light in weight – offering a warm honey brown tonality to the project. Alder was used throughout, including the interior wall paneling of the building core, the suspended petal feature ceiling in the reception, suspended ceilings in the innovation center and on the hosting floor, the outer cladding of the suspended “skyboxes” and the “skygarden” planters, and in feature millwork throughout. Alder was also designed as a cascading runner down the white feature spiral stair – connecting the executive floor with the hosting venue. The feature wood is balanced with the use of stone and bronze – a material concept that is warm, and rooted in the nature and garden themes of the project.
“The goal was to design an office building to inspire its occupants, animate Georgia Street, and set a new standard for sustainable workplace design in North America.” concludes Gregory Henriquez, Design Architect, Henriquez Partners Architects.