Wallace Walk Studio is not your typical white-walled architecture office, instead the design is inspired by the Eames’ house and studio and our company ethos of care and consideration.
In the shell of a newly-built industrial unit, we created a workspace for ourselves that is welcoming, comfortable, and practical, with a mix of natural textures, unexpected colour arrangements, off-the-shelf metal components and abundant plant life that extends the adjacent West Toronto Railpath greenery inside.
To keep the long views of the railpath and to maximize daylight and fresh air in the studio, the service spaces are contained within a two-story box, wrapped in rift cut white-oak veneer, punctured by frameless doors and minimal hardware. The service box reveals a bright orange interior with supply cabinets in plastic laminate, natural rubber stairwell treads and painted walls.
The design uses simple materials with well-considered details. In the washrooms mirrored cabinet doors conceal a towel dispenser and supplies. Cabinets are plastic laminate with integral pulls and baltic birch plywood edging. The custom-designed desks have the same edging with lilac-coloured linoleum tops and pinboards at window-sill height for some visual and acoustic privacy.
Under the desks, deep shelves store both full-scale drawings and smaller documents. Cut-outs accommodate cords and monitor arms as well as accessories like pencil holders, with extra tabletop outlets for personal devices.
Materials specified throughout are non-toxic – linoleum flooring for desktops and pinboards, felted wool for seat cushions and ceiling panels, hardwood for floors and the service bar.
As an extension of the plant-theme, terracotta was introduced in the mosaic tile and light fixtures by Hand and Eye Studio. Horizon sconces by Anony are in a contrasting pale blue. The livery of the passing trains inspired the dark green exposed ceiling.
All the main spaces are on the ground level so that they are fully accessible for both clients and staff. Shared spaces are placed by the west-facing windows where the theatre of pedestrian, cyclist and train movement in the rail corridor and the historic Wallace Avenue bridge can be experienced by everyone.
Desks are in the centre of the floor plate on both levels, but with windows on two sides of the studio everyone is close to natural light.
A series of movable oak and mint-green fins modulate light and view at the full-height glazed wall in the large meeting room. Pinboard panels can rotate to open the room to the main space for large presentations or events.
The main corridor alongside the service bar on the upper floor doubles as pinboard space and a secondary passage provides access to the materials library.
The kitchen is designed like a comfortable café, the terrazzo tables can accommodate individuals or the team can eat lunch together, as they do when they can. When seated at the oak and felt bench, eye level is in line with a groundscape of native plants and grasses.