Connecting Heritage and New Construction

MaRS Centre The West Tower

Project Photos

One of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs, MaRS houses high-impact startups including medical, IT, engineering and social improvement enterprises in a facility composed of both heritage and new construction. Neighbouring iconic Queen’s Park and provincial government buildings, this second phase required a design that was indicative of its unconventional function and prominent location. Requiring far more mechanical infrastructure than a typical building to support labs and scientific equipment, this final addition to MaRS could easily have been a huge mass of a facility.

Rather than mimic its solid brickwork, the tower and connection feature terracotta elements that pay homage to the existing heritage building. The terracotta detail is prominent in the atrium where the historic building resides, connecting old and new and acts as a continuous thread as it’s taken along the main atrium space, extending to the exterior. The design bridges the interior and exterior environment through its windowed space, bringing in natural daylight to create a bright and airy feel. The exterior is highly articulated to ensure that it takes on a less than solid block appearance. The building is strategically placed to allow for a natural flow of foot traffic, pedestrian access to the adjacent public transit station, and clear views of the Parliament buildings across the street.