This office renovation provides a new home for the property managers of Jackson Square, located in Hamilton, ON. The 40-year-old Jackson Square Mall is an indoor shopping mall and commercial complex located in the city core. Built throughout the 1970’s, Yale Properties have been rebranding the mall to rid it of its outdated image, to better integrate it with the surrounding urban fabric, and give it a new distinct identity. Similarly, the Jackson Square Management’s offices were outdated and incongruent with the mall’s new branding. This project is one of 15 separate construction initiatives that form the overall rejuvenation of this property.
The existing space was a raw concrete space, initially designed to be a restaurant, but was never developed. The space is comprised of two distinct portions, a lower one overlooking the plaza, and double height space towards the back. By carefully reviewing existing drawings dating back to the 1970s, a blocked in clerestorey window was discovered. Opening and reactivating this feature transformed the quality of the space.
For the new office, Yale properties shifted from a private office model to an open plan design. This required in-depth client feedback during the schematic design phase. The program included a private meeting space, a board room, a visible reception point with access control, and a gathering area. The space was designed to have the more communal and public functions facing the plaza, with the more private office functions occupying the double height space in the back.
Throughout the project Baltic birch veneered millwork is utilized as a space defining tool. The reception seating is a salvaged Ivor Wynne Stadium bench which is affixed to a new concrete base. The concrete base is dissected by the frameless glazed screen of the board room, using the bench to simultaneously divide and connect the space. The reception desk millwork is dissected by a frameless glazed screen leading into the gathering /kitchen area. Controlled access by the receptionist is required beyond this point, although visual access is granted.
The kitchen and gathering area face the elevated plaza of Jackson Square towards the east, providing views to Gore Park through a full height glazed screen. The concrete columns on either end of the screen were left, and the raw aesthetic is matched by the aged concrete floor.
The kitchen millwork is the centre piece of the project, dividing the lower portion gathering space and the double height office area. The same piece of millwork transforms into a printing station and document storage shelving on the office side. The central millwork peels back to reveal the existing raw concrete columns.
On the kitchen side the columns are exposed all the way to the ground, while on the office side, the counter top intersects the columns. The millwork is built of exposed Baltic birch veneer plywood, softening the space.
The open plan office is symmetrically laid out with desks installed against the existing concrete block walls. The facing walls existing concrete block, which is softened at the lower interface with the desks. Continuous storage cabinets divide the workstations from the upper hard concrete surface to create a soft continuous tackable acoustic panel wall. The carpet flooring in the office area further adds to the softness of the space and provides sound dampening.
Acoustic panels were installed in a dynamic linear design that accentuates the symmetry of the office. The two banks of desks are divided by a central piece of millwork which acts as storage and a touchdown point. The back wall of the office is also constructed of Baltic birch plywood, mirroring the kitchen millwork. This wall demarks more private and back of house functions.
A private meeting room is accessed through a Baltic birch wooden door, which visually disappears into its host wall. The washroom and storage area are accessed through a red alcove in the plywood wall. The bright red Jackson Square brand colour is peppered throughout the space on furniture upholstery, linear acoustic panels, and in the alcove on the back wall.