Photo Essay: Calling for a Redesign

By Robert Nieminen


How does one go about transforming a 50,000-square-foot former night club into an award- winning call center on a $30 per square foot budget? Just ask the design team at Ontario-based Mayhew, because that's exactly what they did for World Access Canada, the subject of this month's Photo Essay.

Mark Anevich, managing partner at World Access Canada, selected Mayhew to redesign the local landmark building—originally known as a mainstream entertainment nightclub called Lulu's—into a functional workspace for 200 employees. The new space had to improve organizational synergies, communication and business processes using one 50,000-square-foot floor plate solution. Additional project objectives included reducing the overall usable square footage per person and increasing common amenities and meeting spaces. To add to the challenge, the company only had a budget of $30 per square foot, including all IT and consulting fees.

Using a 120-degree planning solution, Mayhew succeeded in reducing the overall real estate by 20 square feet per person. Design choices such as adding sliding corner doors in meeting rooms created extra large corridors and a sense of collaborative space extending into work areas. Various material treatments including fabric sails, painted MDF boards, and wrapped drywall corners were applied to define changes and separation in the one-floor building, while also creating visual interest and atmosphere.

Mayhew won the Award of Merit for "New Workplace over 50,001 square feet" in the 2006 ARIDO Awards of Excellence competition for the project. Mayhew's winning design team included Beth Shantz, director of design; Kelly O'Conner, lead designer; Julie McIntyre, designer; Julie Hawkins, designer; Kelly Mitchell, designer; and Kevin Drehmer, architectural technologist.