Brodeur & Létourneau CPA inc.
By : Équipe A
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 16th edition
Discipline : Interior Design
Categories : Office / Office: Professional & Financial Service Firms : Silver Certification
Categories : Office / Office 5,400 - 54,000 sq.ft. (500 - 5 000 sq. m.) : Gold Certification
Covering 13,800 sq. ft. on two floors, the office building at 5035 Bourque Boulevard in Sherbrooke was designed to accommodate the owner’s offices and some rental spaces. In addition to designing the building, Équipe A carried out the interior design, including the choice of finishes, integrated furniture, lighting as well as interior and exterior signage.
At first glance, it seemed difficult to accommodate all the client’s needs on the small area of the chosen lot. Furthermore, municipal regulations required a certain number of parking spaces for the required building area to be permitted. Since underground parking was not desired, great efforts were made to optimize how the lot was used and to achieve a balance between maximum floor area and the required parking spaces. A creative solution was adopted: to design a larger second floor, which overlooks the ground floor and parking.
Once this technical challenge was overcome, the visual design of the building was envisioned to be representative of the client and the services they offer. Straight and rectangular shapes were favored, reminiscent of the restraint and uprightness often associated with accounting professionals. However, this design choice created other challenges: how could the building’s imposing weight be lightened and how could natural light enter the heart of the structure?
To lighten the volume and create movement, the two levels were dislocated and articulated around the lateral shift of the upper floor, which seems to float on the ground floor. From the outside, this floating illusion is accentuated by the pale concrete walls of the ground floor that seem to fade away in contrast with the aluminum cladding of the upper floor. To maximize natural light and further lighten the volume, the second floor was also hollowed out horizontally, which can be observed through the abundant windows. A vertical opening cuts across the heart of the building as well, giving way to an interior courtyard encircled by glass. The two trees that grow there are visible from all over the second floor, creating an interesting link between the inside work environment and the nature outside. In addition to the benefits of biophilia, employees and clients can enjoy serene and welcoming workspaces thanks to the open layout, uncluttered color palette and thoughtful lighting.
As for the exterior, the cream-colored concrete panels help to mitigate the mass of the volume. The design team worked closely with the concrete manufacturer to design new custom panels that were seamless, so that the base of the building would appear firmly anchored to the ground, but that could also be customized to appear less industrial and more corporate. The concrete mix was tinted and its surface polished, producing a warm and elegant finish. For the concrete in the parking space, several tests were conducted in the factory to create panels that could feature various sized openings. The aim of these openings was to create an interesting play of light under the building as the daylight filters through.
The building’s sturdy, contemporary and sleek appearance was intended to inspire confidence, in the image of the owner’s company. However, it is also pierced by light, representing the way the accounting firm cuts through the opacity of the financial world to help its clients.