September 1, 2003
by Canadian Architect
KMA Inc. Offices, Toronto, Ontario
Kleinfeldt Mychajlowycz Architects Incorporated
This renovation of an industrial building in the Bathurst-Spadina/Queen-Front area of Toronto was executed for and by the principals at Kleinfeldt Mychajlowycz Architects Inc. (KMA Inc.) as much for the advantages afforded by the building’s extant floor plate over three floors as its high ceilings, simple floor areas and solid masonry/ steel construction, and the area’s generous by-laws. They allowed for a future building at the front of the lot with the possibility of a courtyard between the two buildings. The offices for KMA Incorporated occupy the basement and first floor.
A walkout terrace from the existing basement to the courtyard, to later on include a multi-level exterior landscape, will incorporate a Living Wall and a Green Roof when the new front building is complete. The entry to the walkout terrace and interior stair are raised two risers from floor level by a concrete plinth which divides the more public conference area from the remainder of the floor. The lower floor is a retreat from the upper floor, containing shared living elements of the studio: kitchen, washroom, shower, mechanical room, library and conference area.
A vertical circulation is located on the exterior in order to minimize wasted floor space and accommodate the need of primary and secondary access to the office, the third floor residential unit and future front building. The interior stair, a sort of Italian kit of parts inspired by the work of Carlo Scarpa, was purchased nonetheless at a big box retail store and assembled with a wrench.
The construction of an underground services bank for current and future building was included, as was the design of a tripartite faade of solid and void with a semi-transparent, animated louvered division. This allows the faade a new proportion, and improves light, view and cooling properties of the wall assembly. Signage, colour and distortion of scale are effected through the monolith wall at the entry to the office, used for both division and unification.
The overall intention and effect is a working environment for KMA Inc. which, through its interior and exterior spaces, is flexible and able to accommodate a variety of groupings, activities and schedules. As one Ontario Association of Architects Awards juror noted, this project gives attention to a neglected site and attracts visual interest to an overlooked corner of the city. The project garnered an Honourable Mention in the 2003 OAA Awards category for Office Buildings, Retail, Recreation and Entertainment Facilities under $5 million.
Client: Universal Habitat Inc.
Architect team: Carol Kleinfeldt, Roman Mychajlowych, Gerald Lambers
Structural: K.H. Davies Consulting Inc.
Mechanical: Joseph Kubat Consulting Engineer
Electrical: Buxton & Dawe Ltd.
Area: 2,420 sq. ft.
Completion: June 2002
Photography: Jason Witalis, Charnjeet Sambi
open work space
The lower level of the KMA Inc. office contains living elements such as the kitchen, washroom, and a meeting area
Looking into the open work space from the courtyard
The third floor of the building serves as a residential unit
The exterior stair minimizes wasted floor space and maintains independent use of the building by each tenancy
A view from the basement to the first level through the Carlo Scarpa-inspired interior stair.