BGC maximizes efficiency and cost savings with partner pre-planning

BGC Engineering, a global consulting firm specializing in applied earth sciences, encompasses a diverse group of highly skilled, curious-minded individuals with varied experiences, achievements, and backgrounds. Dedicated to working as one team, they operate with a focus on the interconnection between their people, disciplines, and offices across the globe to provide their clients with high-quality solutions and exceptional service.

The company's culture prioritizes teamwork and shared leadership at every level to address the most critical challenges in applied earth sciences globally. Recently, their Calgary office at Fifth Avenue Place underwent a two-floor renovation. Aligned with their vibrant culture, our objective was to design an office environment that is both enjoyable and welcoming. This included optimizing the view of the city's West side and repurposing existing furniture from their previous office space, ensuring a seamless integration without feeling out of place.

Team Spotlight

Karen Blackwood

Project Lead

Square Footage: +/- 43,500 sq ft

Project Start Date: November 2022

Project Completion Date: July 2023

The Challenge

Given the open workstation layout, there was a need to address potential issues related to noise and privacy:

  • Acoustics became a critical consideration to ensure a conducive and productive work environment; We needed to strike a balance between the collaborative nature of open workstations and the necessity for individual focus without compromising on sound quality.

The large floorplate posed challenges in terms of visual separation:

  • Create distinct zones and maintain a sense of privacy within such an expansive space; We needed to devise strategies that not only delineate different functional areas but also foster a sense of connection among team members.

The Solution

To address the challenges posed by open workstations and a large floorplate, our team implemented strategic solutions that seamlessly integrated functionality, aesthetics, and the client's preferences.

Built partitions, strategically placed throughout the office, featured a combination of glass and panel screens. This design choice effectively divided the expansive floorplate without sacrificing natural light or creating enclosed rooms. The use of transparent materials maintained a sense of openness, fostering a collaborative atmosphere while still providing the necessary visual separation.

Acknowledging the rare presence of the interconnected stair, a feature uncommon in downtown Calgary, the design team seized the opportunity to convert it into a distinctive focal point. By refinishing and replacing the existing panels, the structural integrity was preserved while elevating the design to align with the overall revised aesthetic. This not only added a touch of uniqueness but also maintained a connection between different levels of the office.

The Human-Centred Lens

Adopting a human-centered lens, the design solution seamlessly integrates elements from hospitality, residential, and wellness interiors to enhance the overall experience.

The inclusion of accessible coffee stations distributed across the floorplate ensures that every individual is in close proximity to a kitchen amenity. Notably, there is at least one barrier-free accessible station on each floor, prioritizing inclusivity and convenience.

Wellness rooms have been thoughtfully incorporated on each floor. These rooms feature comfortable furniture, a fridge, and a sink, creating versatile spaces for various users to unwind and take moments for themselves. By integrating these residential-inspired wellness areas, the design aims to provide a sense of comfort and relaxation within the workspace, fostering a more holistic and supportive environment for all occupants.

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Key Features

Hospitality Elements 

Coffee bars and intermediate kitchens are strategically placed on both floors, providing convenient and swift access to amenity offerings for all employees.

A spacious staff kitchen/lounge serves as a communal area for lunch, impromptu meetings, or team-building events. Complete with a snack bar and a built-in keg station, it is well-equipped for after-hours events as well.

Tech Lounge

The 'Tech Lounge' corridor presented a unique opportunity, featuring two enclosed meeting rooms and an open lounge space. It transformed what would have otherwise been a conventional corridor into a dynamic and functional area.

Colour and Texture

By integrating color and texture, the environment exudes vibrancy and playfulness in amenity spaces, while maintaining a sense of tranquility and focus in the working zones.

Narrating BGC’s Story

A feature corridor became a focal point in highlighting both the employees and their work. This pathway, extending from the reception to the main boardroom, offered an experiential opportunity. The story of BGC Engineering was told through 8-inch square plaques, creating a visual narrative that added a personal touch to the space. This design element not only served an aesthetic purpose but also contributed to a sense of identity and unity within the office.


“Working with Holland to design our new office space in Calgary was a delight. The design process was very collaborative, and they delivered an excellent, high-quality product while being mindful of schedule and budget. They had a great relationship with the construction contractor, and their support throughout construction was extremely valuable. We are very happy with our new space!”

Kristin White, P.Eng., Geological Engineer, BGC Engineering

Project Credits

Brokers: David Leese – Cushman & Wakefield
Smith + Andersen, Mulvey & Banani
Prime Projects Ltd.
Joel Klassen