The Williams Parkway Operations Centre sets a new design standard for the municipal operations centre typology. Located a 45-minute drive west of Toronto, in an industrial zone of the mid-size city of Brampton, the 9.6 acre campus is the municipality’s primary response point for infrastructure design, maintenance and repair, roadway snow removal coordination, and an array of permitting functions.
The project team’s goal is to increase civic pride and awareness of the work done there, while improving interaction amongst a diverse staff group previously based in multiple locations. By balancing modesty with architectural excellence, the building provides an example for future operations buildings
The new 17,650 sqm, LEED Gold-registered project was designed to be built in two phases, enabling gradual changeover and decommissioning of the previous works facility with no break in operations. Phase one comprised a new administrative and public-facing program, introducing an office building and green spaces. The second phase replaced the existing operations and salt storage buildings, and includes workshops, storage and fleet repair facilities, a truck wash and a fuel station.
The complex is not only practical; it is intuitive and beautiful: a two-storey linear atrium forms a transparent spine in the administrative wing, connecting all primary program elements and encouraging interaction between office staff, outdoor workers and tradespeople in this common transitional zone. Addressing both access and security, the design speaks of Brampton’s culture of openness and inclusivity, exposing visitors to all aspects of the building’s operations: the administrative offices, training rooms, a cafeteria, the sign making workshops and the operations loading docks, as well as a landscaped central courtyard and green roof. The architecture uplifts, inviting daylight to pour in through the atrium on even the gloomiest day, sweeping the floor in strident patterns, providing staff with a calming connection to the natural environment.
Sustainable features that contribute to the facility’s targeted LEED Gold status include geothermal heating and cooling, an extensive green roof and ground level courtyard, operable windows, a sophisticated building management system, solar powered site lighting, an on-site stormwater retention pond, and plug-ins for electric vehicles. The natural light and green spaces, in addition to the ergonomically designed building, emphasize employee well being – creating a comfortable environment for all, especially those who need to put in long hours.
Williams Parkway Operations Centre advances the industrial building typology, treating common materials with uncommon refinement, and combining generous spaces with natural light and views. It demonstrates how apparently ordinary buildings can be transformed into inspiring architecture.
The design targets LEED Gold Certification. Green strategies include:
• Geothermal heating and cooling
• A building management system
• Low flow plumbing fixtures
• Occupancy light sensors
• LED light fixtures throughout
• Solar-powered site lighting
• Operable windows and fully glazed overhead doors
• Glazed public-facing lobby with passive solar shading
• Electric vehicle charging stations
• Highly reflective roof surfaces and fully accessible intensive green roofs
• Native no-maintenance vegetation and generous landscaping facing the street and public entry
• A stormwater management system linked to a retention pond.
• An interactive public information kiosk with project sustainability statistics
Systems, Features and Innovations of the Operations Centre include:
• Floor to ceiling high performance glazing throughout all offices and workshops to maximize both daylight and visual connectivity between office workers, tradespeople and outdoor workers
• Custom extruded aluminum sunshades protecting the east- and west-facing atrium facades from solar heat gain and glare
• A 2,000 sqm extensive green roof integrating a staff break area
• Workshops for sign making, welding, electrical repair, woodworking, machining, pumps and controls repair, and parks department equipment repair.
• A 19-bay fleet garage combining traditional and drive-through repair bays, in-ground hoists and a variety of portable lifts, a 5-ton bridge crane, centralized lubrication system and overhead exhaust extraction
• High speed telescoping overhead vehicle bay doors to eliminate interference with overhead lighting and mechanical systems
• A snow melting area draining to the stormwater management pond
• A salt and sand storage building holding up to 9,000 tons of material
• Brine making equipment integrated with the salt and sand storage building, connected to brine tanks and pumps at the two-tank fueling island
RDHA is a Toronto-based studio specializing in architecture for the public realm. Originally founded in 1919, the firm has a wide-ranging body of work, encompassing community and recreation facilities, libraries and cultural buildings, operations centres, transit facilities, post-secondary education facilities, secure buildings, corporate and institutional office buildings, and additions and renovations to heritage structures. In the past ten years RDHA has focused on producing intelligent, concept driven architecture of the highest caliber. The firm now feels and acts like an emerging design studio, while our 99-year legacy provides a solid backbone of technical and managerial experience. Consequently, we have re-emerged as one of Canada's most acclaimed design firms, winning more than 40 major provincial, national and international awards - most notably three Governor General's Medals and the 2017 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Firm of the Year Award.
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