A freshly renovated century-old heavy timber warehouse gives the Vancouver-based tech-firm, Slack, a warm, flexible office space for its fast-growing mobile workforce.
- Century-old timber post-and-beam structure features nail-laminated timber (NLT) decking
- Adaptive re-use of historic timber, including reclaimed wood communal table
- Biophilic features include an abundant use of wood furniture and finishes, along with a green wall and other natural materials
Historic timber construction is transformed into a state-of-the-art workplace
The productivity app maker’s 1,200 square-metre four-storey office is a clear reminder of the long-standing resilience and appeal of heavy-timber heritage buildings. Located in Vancouver’s historic Yaletown, the century-old timber post-and-beam structure features expansive nail-laminated timber (NLT) decking and proves well suited to the flex-in-place needs of the modern workplace. The renovated warehouse gives the software start-up all the contemporary amenities that a new generation of workers have come to expect in the design of today’s open-plan office. This includes a wireless and connected workplace that features both private and communal spaces along with areas for larger meetings and social gatherings.
Bringing nature, wood and the outdoors inside
Wood is used throughout the project, complementing the original timber structure. Custom-designed mobile meeting boxes, constructed with simple plywood, are put on wheels for impromptu meetings and collaboration. A heavy-timber beam, removed to create a double-height atrium space, was repurposed as a 5-metre-long table in the employee lounge. CNC-milled wood partitions include circular openings, drawing natural light into the individualized working areas while also meeting the building code requirement to keep the ceiling open for fire sprinklers. A natural green wall, made of lichen, serves as a striking focal point while acting as a partition for privacy. An abundant use of wood furniture and finishes, along with other natural materials (e.g. greenery, charcoal, cork, buttons, and burlap) reflects a growing interest to bring calming elements of nature into the workplace. This is the case down to the smallest details: for example, each button on the banks of upholstered benches is unique—six different sizes, shapes, and species of wood and three different colours of thread.
All in all, old becomes new again at Slack Technologies Inc. where historic timber construction is transformed into a state-of-the-art workplace that is more than ready for the future.