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Architectural firm’s own office demonstrates sustainability on a smaller scale

Located in Saskatoon, one of the  youngest and fastest growing cities  in Canada, our new workplace had  to embody a fresh identity and a  progressive environmental agenda.

By Bertrand Bartake

In a province where sustainable design is not yet the norm, we wanted to lead by example. Project Nextus is in line to become the first LEED Platinum certified project in Saskatchewan. Located in a main floor storefront space, it puts active design principles on public display.

We established ambitious sustainability goals with an emphasis on staff health and comfort. We met those goals by planning and intelligent design first, and then by including technology if necessary. It was important for us to create an environment of choice for staff while inspiring creativity.

One of the main elements of the design solution is a locally fabricated parametric perforated steel ribbon that acts as a wayfinding element and connects the two levels of the workplace by framing the central circulation. The ribbon acts as an acoustic absorber and screens the main mechanical distribution before morphing into a magnetic and writable surface for the meeting areas. The collective efforts toward smart planning, functionality and ingenuity resulted in a workplace that is a manifestation of our core principles of context, collaboration and sustainability.

Large north-facing windows on the storefront provide abundant daylighting to the front of house spaces without the detrimental effects of glare. On the south side, a deep overhang enabled the design team to expand the area of glazing originally proposed for the base building, greatly increasing the daylight reaching the space. The use of 100% LED fixtures resulted in a power density improvement of more than 35% over the ASHRAE benchmark. Occupancy sensors throughout, including on task lights, further reduce the power consumption within the space.

Materials, finishes and furnishings were meticulously selected to reduce harmful airborne contaminants in the office. Over 30% of the furniture is reused. Radiant heating and cooling panels are combined with a dedicated outdoor air delivery system that provides 100% fresh air to the workplace. The collective strategies resulted in outstanding air quality in the project.

Active design principles played a key role in generating the layout of the workplace, with the social and amenity spaces in the centre and studio spaces around the periphery. The kitchen, print area and “living room” act as social condensers where staff working in different studios interact. A generously proportioned, open stair provides both vertical connection and an informal meeting place.

Bertrand Bartake, Architect SAA, is with Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture in Saskatoon.

The base building uses Alumicor ThermaWall 2600 curtain wall, FlushGlaze 800 storefront and RainBlade 1970 triple-glazed low E windows, and is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Energy-efficient and quiet-operating fan coils by Daikin are used in the meeting rooms. 


  • Client/Architect  Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture
  • Structural Engineer  Robb Kullman Eng. Ltd.
  • Electrical Engineer  PWA Engineering Ltd.
  • Mechanical Engineer  Daniels Wingerak Engineering Ltd.
  • General Contractor  PCL
  • Commissioning Agent  Thurston Engineering
  • LEED Consultant Kane Consulting
  • Photos  Patricia Holdsworth, Karee Davidson