As reported in The Globe and Mail, in Vancouver and Toronto, the centre is getting stronger. A pair of development companies are planning office towers that will reshape the downtowns of those two cities – and, with architecture by Bjarke Ingels Group, mixes up office space with infrastructure that runs the 21st-century city.
Union Centre in Toronto, which is being revealed here for the first time, would be wedged into a tiny site next to Union Station. Yet it would be among the tallest and the biggest towers in the city: A planned 264 metres tall, almost as tall as as Scotia Plaza, and about 1.7 million square feet including office, data-centre space and an event venue. The Vancouver building, right next to BC Place, would be one of the city’s largest, with 500,000 square feet of office space.
The two buildings by Allied Properties REIT and Westbank are set up for the tech sector. They’re centrally located near transit, linked to clean energy and the fastest possible broadband, offering big office floors for easy collaboration, and built to have some easy back-and-forth with the city around them. This is architecture designed for, and by, people who wear sneakers to work.
The Union Station project “is a sign of what Toronto is becoming,” says Westbank chief executive Ian Gillespie. “The city isn’t just about finance any more. It’s about everything: tech, culture and a variety of other pursuits.”
BIG, the Danish hotshots, are working on spectacular condo buildings for the same clients. But the new Toronto office building has no swoops or curves. Allied CEO Michael Emory compares it to “a warehouse turned on its end.” It is the sort of big and sturdy and flexible space that so-called “creative office” tenants love.
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