A Grander View

What defines a favourite building or place? I suppose that’s a personal consideration and why if the question is asked, the answer is different for everyone.

Myself, I find that while commuting around the city there are certain buildings I like to look at each time I pass. The Enermodal Engineering office building on Lancaster is one that I always look at, and the more I look at it, the more I like it.

What do I like? Well, from an aesthetic point of view, I like the proportions of the building. I like the complex composition of the materials used on the exterior of the building and the simple organized feel of its actual layout. I find it a thoughtful and visually interesting building where the detailing of materials and the joints between materials have been investigated and celebrated. Every time I look at it I think it should seem busy, but it’s not. It works.

I also like what the building stands for. It is currently the most energy-efficient office building in Canada. I had the opportunity to attend a LEED seminar at this facility which included a tour of the building and site. Material selections, building systems, orientation of the building, and landscaping have all been carefully considered and chosen for sustainable, environmentally responsible and energy efficient construction. The building aspires to a higher standard and provides a healthy and creative workplace. So often people dismiss the idea of “green buildings” as being impractical, expensive or a trend, but this office is a model of how the built environment can influence lifestyle and attitude and help to shape a better future.

Using reclaimed materials the building features:

  • Salvaged beech flooring in the lobby from a demolished building in Toronto
  • Exterior stone cladding from a 19th century, demolished church in Woodstock
  • Retaining wall in parking lot stone from St. Clair River Tunnel, demolished in 1990s

What do I wish? I hope to find more construction around the city that is clever, responsible and beautiful, that cares about where we live now and inspires the future, and that can become a new favourite place.


Photos courtesy of Enermodal Engineering Ltd.

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