Export Development Canada Headquarters 159 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON
Friday 14 Jun 2013
Export Development Canada (EDC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation, providing financial solutions to Canadian companies that do business in other countries. With the long term leases on their two outdated Ottawa facilities expiring, EDC saw an opportunity to not only consolidate and house their operations under one roof, but to re-evaluate their current work processes, align them with their business goals, and develop a state of the art Headquarters facility that would support their vision. They also saw this project as part of their business strategy to attract and retain the best talent, with the end result being a dynamic, productive, and healthy workplace.
Given that the physical space had to address the diverse work and meeting styles for the approximately 1300 staff, a “one size does not fit all” approach was adopted, with several work-style arrangements being provided including resident and free address workstations of various sizes (8’x8’, 120 degree “pods” and benching), which were assigned according to work processes, and not to hierarchy.
Collaboration in the workplace was enhanced through the incorporation of alternative meeting locales such as the generously sized employee “cafes” with a variety of seating arrangements (booth, bar height, café tables), huddle rooms with fully retractable glazing which could be opened and closed by staff, and high-backed soft seating clusters which afford visual and acoustic privacy in the open office environment. A dedicated and re-configurable conference floor where meetings from 4 to 300 staff could be accommodated is also a well used feature in the design
In keeping with EDC’s commitment to the environment, the interiors were designed to a LEED-CI Gold strategy. Notable features include a comprehensive addressable lighting system (each light fixture has its own IP address), daylight for 75% of all spaces, low VOC compliance for paints, sealants, carpet, and furniture systems, low flow plumbing fixtures, and a fitness centre with change rooms and lockers that accommodate the 150+ staff who regularly bike to work.
The resulting headquarters has seen a substantial increase in productivity and employee morale. The space anticipates how work is done, and the clean, uncluttered and vibrant aesthetic plays a big part in the re-energized mood of the staff.