17150 Yonge Street is a new publicly accessible office building and courthouse situated in Newmarket, Ontario and designed by WZMH Architects for York Region Municipality. The recently completed building is linked by a new bridge to the adjacent existing Administrative Centre. The building design is focussed on user experience and sustainability.
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17150 Yonge Street
Institutional Architecture Built
Len Abelman – Project Principal; Robert Sampson – Principal; Brian Andrew – Retired Design Principal; Carl Blanchaer – Retired Design Principal; Rino Filippelli – Project Manager, Senior Associate Principal; Mohammed Al-Atheri- Principal; Han Tang- Revit Job Captain; Roland Brunner, Nicola Reid
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
©Tom Arban, Ruta Krau
Design from the inside out
17150 Yonge Street is a public building and WZMH thought really hard about the user experience of visitors accessing the services within and wanted to make it as transparent, friendly and comfortable as possible. One of the central features of the building is an 8 storey atrium facing Yonge Street which fills the entire building with light and provides views to adjacent landscape and beyond. We also used this as a central wayfinding element so that no matter where people are in the building, they will have views to the atrium and not feel lost in a maze (as is sometimes the case in other government buildings.) When fully opened post-Covid, there will be thousands of people accessing this building and its services on a daily basis so we wanted the pedestrian flow to be simple within a calming environment. There is a provincial court house on the second floor with eight new courtrooms and we also had to carefully consider the public and private access and circulation around this space.
Design from the outside in
We wanted the building to look as contemporary as possible to reflect the age in which it is constructed.
The main exterior building finishes are: glass and aluminum curtain wall, metal and precast concrete panels. We chose materials for aesthetics and durability. Some of the exterior glazing has a fritted pattern for design and also to reduce glare into the main spaces. We have used more natural stone materials in the landscape to blend into the adjacent flood plain lands. We were also cognisant of how the new building would look adjacent to the existing curving York Region Administrative Centre and selected a blue glass for the new building and stone in the landscape to reflect this context.
Location and Context
The Regional Municipality of York have multiple departments spread throughout York Region, Ontario in buildings that they lease or own, many in a poor state that required extensive repair. They created a business plan that demonstrated that consolidating all of these satellite departments into one new building on their own land would result in large savings, greater collaboration between departments and efficiencies for the public accessing their services. The Regional Municipality of York owned a large piece of land at the North West corner of Yonge and Eagle Street in Newmarket adjacent to the existing Administrative Centre, Court House and a VIVA bus rapid transit stop. Locating the new building here and linking it with a bridge to the existing Administrative Centre created a “civic campus” and a central node for public services in the area.
York Region co-ordinated which departments needed to be located in the new building and helped WZMH understand the functional requirements of each user group and where they should be best located relative to each other. We also looked carefully at which spaces required the most public access and located them on the lower levels of the building to simplify public access and circulation.
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