The objective for Kohn Shnier Architects in collaboration with Figure 3 interior designers was to create a strong iconic form, married to a fresh and unique approach in urban retail architecture. The overall expression of the design is both a seduction and an expression of the spatial volumes and sectional experience that has been created through a strategic reconfiguration of the interior floor plates.
Two floors of retail are tied together by opening a volume of space between them linked by a set of ramping platforms. Simultaneously circulation and display space, this element gives visitors time to adapt to a retail experience shaped by light. Access to the lower portion of the space is by a wide short stair that eliminates any sense of hierarchy between the two levels.
The existing steel frame building is fitted out with a new, more environmentally efficient envelope of glass and charcoal grey concrete masonry units which is in turn enveloped in a decorative veilof vertically oriented plastic panels.
The corner of the building at John Street and Renfrew Place has been restructured with a dynamic new expression of supporting steel and enveloped in a minimal glazing system that provides transparency and accommodates access.
Three hundred polycarbonate panels, each measuring 16 inches wide by more than 10 feet highbare extruded in a vibrant colour saturated with pink overtones designed to catch the attention of Queen Street West pedestrian and stand out against the background of its immediate context.The panel, stacked 3-lengths high to 35 feet and spaced 6 inches apart, provoke light, shadows and transparencies to interact with the views of the building.
The design also includes a large programmable window on the public park as well as a third floor of premium leaseable tenant space.
The new design further enhances UMBRA’s reputation for upholding innovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures in creating a major new downtown destination that cannot be overlooked.