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WILLIAMS PARKWAY OPERATIONS CENTRE | Brampton, Ontario, Canada | 2017

WILLIAMS PARKWAY OPERATIONS CENTRE | Brampton, Ontario, Canada | 2017

Architects: RDHA
Client: City of Brampton
General Contractor: Aquicon Construction
Photographers: Tom Arban

The Williams Parkway Operations Centre introduces a new degree of transparency, dynamism and public engagement to a typically inward and stark building typology, and sets a new benchmark for architectural quality in its suburban-industrial setting.

Located in the fast-growing city of Brampton, Ontario, this 11,200sqm (120,000sqft), two storey municipal hub is a primary response point for local infrastructure design and maintenance. 

It contains offices and workshops for the City’s En¬gineering, Fleet Services and Operations staff, including administrative employees, skilled tradespeople, and outdoor workers.

The site also accommodates a large works yard with material storage, fuel, vehicle washing and waste disposal facilities.

Activities on site comprise a broad range: the design and administration of roads; remote monitoring of traffic activity; building inspections; training of tradespeople, outdoor workers and drivers; sign making for streets and public parks; traffic signal unit repair; coordination of winter storm road clearing, including loading of salt, sand and brine onto plow trucks; repair of city-owned equipment and properties; and the repair of a wide variety of vehicles.

The architectural challenge was to respond to this complex program with an elegant conceptual approach that takes security, safety, and clarity of wayfinding into account.

To this end, the building is conceived as a cluster of simple white-clad volumes, each related to a different program type – administration, staff amenities, workshops, and vehicle maintenance.

They are arrayed on the long east and west sides of a narrow, 150m-long atrium. Connecting all major program elements, this circulation spine fosters better communication and cohesiveness between office staff, outdoor workers, tradespeople and visitors.

By giving them a common transitional space and point of entry, it also eliminates the implied front door/back door hierarchy of office and workshop spaces often seen in municipal operations facilities. Lined in fritted glass and cherry wood panels, and wrapped in vertical anodized aluminum sunshades on its east- and west-facing facades, this grand atrium is the transparent public face of the building, while also making the design parti legible in the form of its striated, linear volume, flanked by white-paneled cuboid blocks and launching towards the street with a dramatic cantilevered meeting space.

Adjacent to the main entry and marking the boundary between the public/administrative and secure/workshop-related ends of the building, the gap between two of the flanking volumes forms a sheltered green courtyard shared by all staff.

The design focuses on transparency, lightness and and material warmth.

The result is an unusually stimulating environment for staff who are often accustomed to banal surroundings, and a facility that engages the public by making many of its inner workings visible to the street.

Layers of vegetation, patterned glass, perforated screens, and brise-soleils reveal and obscure activities in response to requirements of visual comfort, privacy, security and neighborliness.

The project is ex¬pected to achieve LEED Gold certification. Contributing features include geothermal heating and cooling, a storm water retention pond, an extensive green roof, external solar shading, solar-powered site lighting, and provisions for electric vehicles.


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