Govan Brown house interior stairs

Govan Brown Headquarters

Outside-in: Workplace in the Junction

As construction managers specializing in commercial interiors, the project to create a new workplace for Govan Brown demanded a didactic approach. It entailed the repurposing of a 1930’s steel fabrication facility into a state-of-the-art workplace for the firm’s Toronto headquarters. The material palette for this project looked to standard, off-the-shelf building materials to be re-presented in abstracted, even decorative ways.

Plywood sheathing, metal decking, perforated panels, open web steel joists, and cold-rolled steel plate define enclosed areas of workplace revealed from the exposed masonry and concrete of the vintage, host building. Familiar, ubiquitous building materials acquire new meaning via unexpected adjacencies and detailing.

Various dedicated and non-dedicated workspaces and meeting lounges fill the space around and between objectified meeting rooms, and acoustically separated offices. These enclosed spaces carefully maintain oblique views through the work space, unifying the ‘factory floor.’

As a social workplace, amenities like an in-house gym, recreation room, and roof deck lounge with an outdoor kitchen were incorporated. Even with the contemporary programming, furniture and finishes of the space, the industrial history of the building still shines through.

Govan Brown Headquarters
Board room mobile of recovered industrial artifacts brings the building’s history always present.

Above the table in one of the conference rooms, a “mobile” is constructed of salvaged machinery from the steel factory floor, artfully connecting the past and present.

Four-room meeting pod in corrugated metal.
A refurbished relic of the steel fabrication shop adorns the new building entrance courtyard.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Govan Brown

  • Location

    Toronto, Ontario

  • Size

    23,000 sq.ft

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Structural — Blackwell Bowick

    Electrical — Mulvey+Banani (MBII)

    Mechanical — ENSO Systems

  • Photography

    Richard Johnson

  • Artist / Graphics

    Mobile Fabricator — Nelson and Garrett