Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Tomlinson Group invited guests to tour its recently-constructed headquarters in Ottawa’s southwestern Barrhaven district last Thursday, and demonstrated how architectural design can combine with a construction business’s own needs to create a powerful employee community environment.
Christopher Simmonds Architect designed the structure, originally conceived earlier in the decade and completed by 2018. Tomlinson wanted to consolidate its staff based in several locations in a central office – and build a culture of teamwork and co-ordination.
Project lead architect Samantha Schneider took guests on a tour through the structure’s four stories, built on a berm to connect the building to the company’s roots in heavy and infrastructure construction.
The first three floors are built around an atrium with an industrial red staircase (which looks something like a scissors lift), with a ground-floor cafeteria that has, as intended, evolved to be a meeting space for workers from the various company divisions.
Each floor has its own kitchenette/gathering area, while private offices are generally located around the centre core, with open plan work areas by the windows – allowing much natural light to enter the building, says Schneider.
There’s also a locker room with showers and a gym – making it easy for workers from field sites to adapt to the head office.
A state-of-the-art materials testing facility is located a few steps away from the main structure, where asphalt, aggregate and other products receive thorough and frequent evaluations.
There are only a few visitor parking spaces out front – the employee parking area is at the rear next to an outdoor staff patio, wth landscape including rocks gathered from the company’s quarries.