BlackBerry Northfield Campus one of four buildings
BlackBerry Northfield Campus one of four buildings
BlackBerry Northfield Campus showing the relationship between two buildings
BlackBerry Northfield Campus entrance lit up at night
BlackBerry Northfield Campus entrance during the day
Arial view of entire BlackBerry Northfield Campus
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BlackBerry Northfield Campus

One of the largest and most significant commercial campuses in Waterloo Region, the corporate campus on Northfield Drive provides the latest in high-tech office design. Constructed using MSS’s Hyper-Speed Delivery® method for BlackBerry® (formerly Research in Motion), the four office buildings were designed, constructed, and occupied in only 14 months each. Each of the LEED® Silver certified buildings has its own distinct architecture, but they are unified as a campus complex through the use of materials and connected through a network of paths that link various indoor and outdoor amenity spaces across the campus. The design also included creating a landscape and roadway plan to allow for the efficient movement of thousands of employees through the site each day.

There were several key ways MSS ensured the project met its deadline:

  • In traditional construction management the contractor steers the ship, with the architect in a supporting role. On this project, MSS, the contractor and BlackBerry® came to the table as a team so participants could continuously review every aspect of the project to identify possible cost and time savings. The team was adaptive – if one element of design was behind schedule, design changes could be made ‘on the fly’ to condense upcoming phases.
  • Unlike traditional project plans, which lay out phases in a multi-year sequence, the Northfield campus design and development phase was handled in concert with site plan approval. Interior design began even while construction was ongoing.
  • MSS’s experience working on millions of square feet of commercial office space, particularly for tech clients, meant its team could anticipate upcoming challenges and create and test design solutions in advance.

Despite the cohesive look of the buildings from the outside, the interiors each have their own character. The cafeterias and rooftop terraces each have their own cool vibe created with different design features, such as sculpted ceilings, bold colours, natural materials mixed with exposed concrete floors, and different types of seating (such as private cubbies). The lunchrooms also double as multi-functional space for corporate announcements and meetings, with stow-away stages and auditorium style AV systems.

As a tech company, there were several atypical requirements for the office buildings. For example, one building was a call centre, which required fully redundant building systems to ensure nothing could impede its 24/7 operation. Also, a 3,000 sq. ft. data centre is found on the ground floor of one of the buildings, but clever architectural design ensures this is a highly secure area, not noticeable to the visitor visually or audibly.

This project was started and/or completed under Certificate of Practice issued to Robertson Simmons architects inc. prior to firm name change to Martin Simmons Architects Inc.
200,000 sq. ft., 47 acres
Waterloo, Ontario
LEED® Silver Certified
Interested in this project or working with MSS?
Please contact Partner Patrick Simmons.

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