Canadian Architect


Coast Capital Savings headquarters opens

February 17, 2016
by Elsa Lam


After over five years of planning and development, Coast Capital Savings, Canada’s largest credit union by membership, has moved into its innovative new headquarters in Surrey’s city centre. Dubbed “Help Headquarters,” which plays on Coast Capital’s How can we help you? brand, the new building is the deliberate antithesis of a traditional corporate head office, with corporate brand, values and culture woven into every aspect, inside and out.

Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership Architects (MCMP), the firm behind the eye-catching Vancouver Convention Centre West, are behind the design. Located at the crossroads of two major highways and the start of the Expo ALRT line, the building form was created to project motion and movement.

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

According Mark Whitehead of MCM Architects, “Coast Capital is not your typical financial institution. The PCI team knew this building had to reflect that.”  He continues, “It couldn’t be your standard monolithic skyscraper. It had to mirror the organization’s innovative, irreverent, fun-loving brand. MCM designed a building that speaks to Coast Capital’s values, and reflects the growing reputation of Surrey Central as a business, innovation and transit hub here in B.C. This building is progressive and sets the tone for the future with a dynamic form that engages movement and stands apart.”

Extensive research led to a marriage of office design, technology, and important work lifestyle features. Designed to appeal to the changing needs of today’s workers, in particular those of Coast Capital’s own employees and its growing percentage of younger workers, the new office space reflects their values of transparency and community, and fosters an environment of collaboration.

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

Coast Capital, in partnership with the Applied Research and Consulting division of furniture supplier Steelcase, conducted numerous workplace studies when considering the interior design of the office space. The research indicated that Coast Capital employees primarily prefer a collaborative space where they can meet and act quickly to problem solve. As a result, each of the six Coast Capital open concept floors incorporate formal and informal community spaces, including several individual and smaller meeting rooms. In addition, “touch-down” zones are designated areas where staff can access the latest technology to file share and problem solve, and “collision zones” are where staff from different departments, who traditionally may not work together, can quickly collaborate and foster better working relationships. Every floor further takes into account employee needs – from themed cafes to recreational and reflective spaces – to support a corporate culture of wellness, creativity, and collaboration.

Like other desirable, future-forward workplaces, Help Headquarters is also located closer to where its employees live. With 70 per cent of its Help Headquarters staff living south of the Fraser, locating its new head office at the crossroads of Surrey’s new downtown centre at King George SkyTrain was a deliberate choice. The location not only provides excellent commuting options for current employees, but also acts as a desirable feature in attracting future workers.

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

Photo courtesy of MCMP Architects

Surrey is the fastest growing city in British Columbia and the only Canadian city to be named to the 2015 Top 7 Intelligent Communities list by the international Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). Surrey Central is enjoying a growing reputation as Metro Vancouver’s most desirable business and innovation hub. Help Headquarters adds to this status, bringing 700 full-time employees to the nine-story development, which also includes new retail and commercial businesses, plus an onsite day care centre and full service gym with yoga studio and lunchtime fitness classes.

PCI Developments Corp constructed the 185,000 square foot facility, which is the first of four phases of a vibrant mixed-used and transit-oriented community.

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