Tag Archives: McMaster Innovation Park

Architectural Spotlight: Atrium@MIP

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Atrium@MIP (formerly Westinghouse West Plant)
William P. Souter and Associates/Lintack Architects
175 Longwood Road South
Completed: 1950/2009

Kickstarting the renovation projects on Longwood Road South, the premier multi-tenant building at McMaster’s Innovation Park was The Atrium@MIP. Updated in 2009 at a cost of $17 million, it continues to be a strong model of adaptive reuse for the many vacant industrial buildings throughout West Hamilton and beyond.

Formerly the Westinghouse (and later Camco) West Plant office building, it was completed in 1950 as a classic example of modern industrial architecture. Although it has been described as International Style architecture, this should be considered conceptually as a blanket term, rather than an example of a particular style. Designed by William P. Souter and Associates, the building shares similarities with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building and Albert Kahn’s Burroughs Adding Machine Plant.

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The floor plans of The Atrium@MIP interior shadow the classic Larkin Administration Building – in particular, extensive spatial unity and natural light. The newly renovated framework closely resembles Wright’s Larkin masterpiece, including an innermost light court providing natural luminosity to all floors of the buildings vertical layout.

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Though much smaller in scale, the surface of the building shares a similar composition to the Burroughs Adding Machine Plant. The red brick façade, stringcourses, tower-like entrance, and symmetrical windows echo the modern influence of the 1930s that inspired Khan in Plymouth.

In 2005, extensive site reclamation of The Atrium@MIP began under the watchful eye of Lintack Architects. Immediately, the mechanical and electrical systems were replaced to increase energy efficiency throughout the entire superstructure. Then, interior partitions were removed to adjust to the new layout, providing better accommodation for a multitude of new offices and the addition of three new elevators.

At the same time, advanced energy efficient and cosmetic upgrades were applied to the exterior of the edifice. Modern insulation, state-of-the-art windows, and an R valve roof coupled with two L-shaped aluminum clad canopies flanking the entrance provide a necessarily contemporary component to the sweeping facelift performed.

Leading the way, the Atrium@MIP was a rewarding project that may provide important lessons to further generations of reuse pending on various uninhabited yet promising sites in Hamilton. These idle but auspicious locations represent the spirit of Hamilton, centralized in an ambitious city and the history it carries forward.

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Architectural Spotlight: MARC

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MARC – McMaster University Automotive Resource Centre
Longwood Rd. and Frid St.
Perkins + Will Architects
In development

MARC is McMaster University’s new automotive research centre that is currently being built in the shell of an old industrial building at the north end of the Careport Centre.

The exterior of the building is getting a major facelift. Floor to ceiling windows now surround the new atrium on the eastern end of the building that was originally just loading docks. The old corrugated rusty grey steel has been replaced by darker gunmetal coloured steel, accented with grey panel cladding and celestial windows. The 14 loading docks have been narrowed to four, the ten docks replaced by a red brick wall with ground level windows.

The centre will occupy approximately 70 000 square feet of space, with 50 000 square feet on the first floor and the remaining square footage on the second floor. The space will be comprised of labs, offices, and common areas.

McMaster’s Automotive Resource Centre is the latest addition to the McMaster Innovation Park and will provide a place for the research and development of green automotive technologies. The university received an $11.5 million grant from FedDev Ontario, a federal agency launched in August 2009 to help respond to Ontario’s economic challenges. The project will cost approximately $26 million and 120-150 people from the private, public, and academic sectors will be employed at MARC.

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