The three-storey Canadian corporate headquarters for McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, exemplifies the organization’s business model which is based on the premise that strategic design can be a tool to enhance the effectiveness of business environments. The building is designed to promote excellence by encouraging increased interaction in the belief that creativity is grown through interactivity.
The 70,000 sq. ft. Canadian corporate headquarters project initially grew out of an extensive investigation into what constituted the ideal office. After examining twenty possible locations, a site was selected at Victoria University, part of the University of Toronto. The collegial atmosphere is emphasized internally through the large, clerestory windows, positioned to frame views of the college’s more notable buildings. With careful massing, McKinsey attempts to acknowledge campus planning traditions with gentle walkways, axes with structured views, and a courtyard. A palette of rubble and cut stone with teak and mahogany windows accented by copper detailing was in part influenced by the materiality and scale of the adjacent Burwash Hall.
Starting with individual workstations, models for working were developed into office groups, or clusters, each of which represented a vertical section of the McKinsey hierarchy. The two main wings of the project interface at a three-storey high open interior court. At the ground level, this naturally-lit internal court, called the Hive, was created primarily for the benefit t of the employees – either through company-wide meetings, presentations, celebrations, or chance encounters. Throughout the building there are fireplaces and informal sitting areas, adding warmth and energy to the more structured meeting rooms.
McKinsey & Company Toronto owes its remarkable existence to an unprecedented level of involvement and interaction between an active and informed client and the architects. From land acquisition negotiations to the design of furnishings, this collaboration has resulted in an enduring building which was the youngest to be heritage designated in the City of Toronto.
2001 Toronto Construction Association
Best of the Best’
2000 National Post Design Exchange Awards
Gold Winner for Built Environments, Grand Projects
2000 Ontario Association of Architects Awards
Award of Excellence