Wellington-Altus maximizes space within tenant improvement budget

Wellington-Altus, an independent wealth management firm, prioritizes clients in a way that distinguishes it from large corporate institutions. Independent advisors, free from selling bundled investments or meeting sales quotas, can concentrate on providing tailored financial advice and managing assets on top-tier platforms. They desired an office that fosters a welcoming atmosphere for clients, enhances productivity, and prioritizes sustainability, all while ensuring a seamless connection between existing and new spaces.

Team Spotlight

Karen Blackwood

Project Lead

Project Square Footage: +/- 14,450 sq ft

Start Up Date: September 2022

Completion Date: March 2023

The Challenge

  • Make the most of the existing infrastructure within the tenant improvement allowance budget.
  • Create impactful designs in public spaces such as the reception area, staff lounge, and client-facing boardrooms.
  • Ensure a seamless connection between the existing office floor (one level below) and the new expansion floor, without compromising the desirability of the existing space.
  • Integrate the existing finishes, such as dark cherry-toned wood doors and a mix of chrome and stainless hardware, into the new palette and design.

The Solution

We maximized the efficiency of the office layout through minimal changes to the existing perimeter office partitioning. By breaking up meeting rooms into two office spaces and giving the spaces a fresh coat of paint, the areas felt brighter, more spacious, and comfortable while keeping costs low. The existing wood doors were retained throughout the space, and doors from demolished walls were relocated to maintain consistency in finishes.

The project also prioritized sustainability by keeping the existing reception desk location and structure and refreshing its finishes. The carpet that was removed during the renovations was returned to the manufacturer for recycling, diverting it from the landfill. Existing T-bar and lighting were maintained in the open office, closed office, and staff-only areas, while new ceilings were selectively installed as feature bulkheads in high-impact areas like the reception and boardrooms. The staff lounge featured an exposed ceiling for a different aesthetic, and to evoke different feelings.

The Human-Centred Lens

Together with Wellington-Altus, we considered the diverse needs, preferences, and behaviours of the employees and customer. This involved creating spaces that foster collaboration, support various work styles, and prioritize employee health and happiness.

We successfully achieved our objectives by reusing existing infrastructure, maintaining consistency in finishes, and allocating the budget for high-impact designs in customer facing areas. The result was an efficient, cohesive, and visually appealing office space that met the Wellington-Altus' goals while considering sustainability and the connection between existing and new spaces.

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Key Features

Noteworthy design elements

Hospitality Elements

Hospitality is key to cultivating a positive and productive office, where employees feel genuinely welcome, valued and supported when they step into the workplace. The space includes a central kitchen island and seating by windows, allowing individuals to work in natural light, thereby enhancing productivity.

Defined Working Zones

To maintain consistency, the existing carpeting in the open office spaces was maintained, while new corridor flooring (LVP) was added to define working zones. This flooring carried through the public and shared spaces for a cohesive look.

Millwork Finishes

By focusing on preserving existing finishes and layout in the work zones, the budget could be allocated to the client-facing areas, allowing for high design opportunities such as a feature curved millwork island in the staff kitchen and higher-end tile finishes in the elevator lobby and millwork portal details.

Metal Shelving

One of the challenges faced during the project was the detailing of perimeter metal shelving in the staff lounge. Creative solutions were implemented to prevent damage to the base building perimeter bulkhead. Metal supports were used that came up from the surface below, aligned with the supports for the counter surface, creating a seamless and intentional visual from top to bottom.


Project Credits

Brokers: Paul Mckay & Spencer Duff (Savills)
Smith + Andersen, Mulvey & Banani
Prime Projects Ltd.
Oxford Properties
Joel Klassen