January 20, 2017
Designing an Office Short 50% of the Required Square Footage

Joule is a new company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Branched from the Canadian Medical Association, it was created to foster connections and healthcare changes through physician-led innovations, including grants and labs, health hacking events, and delivery of trusted products and services. When we launched the project, we immediately recognized two major challenges that required addressing.

The Challenge: Providing 50 People with a Work Station

How do we fit everyone in? A traditional office design requires approximately 180 sq.ft. per employee, and with only 10,000 sq.ft. to work with, including washrooms and staff areas, it was a challenge to design a space that would accommodate Joule’s 50 employees. Fortunately, not all employees would be in the office at all times, but the space feel congested with so many work stations. Working closely with the team, we recognized that the office needed to be a bright, cutting edge space to inspire creativity and new ideas, and a dense work environment would not be conducive to this type of environment.

The Design Solution

We designed using the concept of “next generation” design. Long gone are the days of the standard cubicle office. Their new office space was developed to be a “free-address” environment, where employees do not have an assigned desk, but rather use any spot available that best suit their task at hand.

Huffington Post recently featured some of the benefits of collaboration spaces including the introduction of conversation corridors, team rooms and collaboration common areas. Several companies, including Microsoft and Cisco have established “free-address” work spaces in their organizations – saying goodbye to cubicle life!

Designing a Space for Introverts and Extroverts Task

Another obstacle to overcome was presenting a space that would work for both introverted and extroverted employees. In order to accommodate the various workstyles of their employees, the floor was divided into a heads-down “focus” side and a lively “collaborate” side, with washrooms in the middle to divide the space. Various open and closed collaboration spaces were provided, including upholstered bleachers and bar height counter seating facing the football field, and high back soft seating surrounded by movable fabric walls.

The office faces the TD Place sports field at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa’s newly renovated sports and entertainment facility along Bank Street. So, we would have to say that our favourite part of the space is the view! We bet the staff enjoys “working” late on an Ottawa REDBLACKS game night.

Visit our portfolio for more information and photos on Joule.

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