Located on the 37th floor of Mies van der Rohe's heritage-designated Tower in the heart of Toronto, Canada's financial district, Think Tank Office is a radical departure from traditional corporate office design. The client's unique business model ' a combination hedge-fund-think-tank ' sought to create a 'workshop in the sky' for investment bankers that would foster their creativity and collaboration, while providing a large communal work area, private offices, a meeting room, lounge and kitchen, for 25 full time staff, all within a very limited 2300 square feet.
After careful study, we quickly realized that traditional notions of corporate office design would not solve the client's unique needs. We needed to radically depart from traditional forms of office spatial arrangement and materiality.
The solution is an undulating waffle of marine plywood surfaces defining an open concept central studio space from a series of private offices, boardrooms, kitchen, and lounge along its edges. The resulting space is literally a hedge of plywood carved out by an abstracted volume - the communal think-tank space. The wooden surfaces, as they arch outward, give way to glass walls defining the private offices. This transition of materials from ceiling to wall creates an open and transparent effect and unlike traditional offices, stunning views and natural light are part of every space.
At 100sqft/employee, the space efficiency is more than double the average in Toronto's financial district (about 200sqft/employee). This has a tremendous advantage. The investment translates into a financial incentive for commercial office clients to invest in design up-front to offset enormous future obligations for growing rents. Thus the project makes a business case that more thoughtful design, innovative use of materials and expression of form leads not only to a more productive office, but also provides better ROI. More is done with less. Form follows finance.