Morrison Hershfield Offices – Ottawa

Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning completed the Morrison Hershfield offices with a variety of workspace options in Ottawa, Canada.

As a prominent engineering firm in Canada, Morrison Hershfield has experienced significant growth within the Ottawa area. Morrison Hershfield leased a three-storey, 35,000 sf building within a three-building campus as their new home. As the sole occupier of the building, Morrison Hershfield enjoys exclusivity to the space, while being within a building that houses a new conference room, gym, and communal café (amenities that will be accessible to all tenants).

Using our previous workplace strategy and design intent from our work at Morrison Hershfield’s head office as the basis for this renovation, the Kasian team worked with key stakeholders and designated team ambassadors from each department to address concerns and fears they had with moving away from a static work environment to an open-office environment. Our team took lessons learned from our head office engagement to not only revamp our previous workplace strategy but develop a strategy that suited the work processes and people of the Ottawa Office.

Within our workplace strategy discussion was the importance of addressing change management. Team ambassadors become advocates of the workplace changes about to occur. Their participation in relaying design information and sharing how their team’ concerns would be addressed in the design created excitement within the Morrison Hershfield team.

With a consensus on moving forward with the design, the new office space introduced lower-panel workstations in an open-office setting. Three types of workstations were introduced: department manager stations, U-shaped workstations, and sit-to-stand stations. To accommodate the absence of a private office for department managers, larger workstations strategically placed in a ‘private zone’ minimizes disruptions yet creates an approachable environment for their team. To minimize noise and distractions, the location of the built-out spaces (meeting rooms, focus rooms, and lunch rooms) are situated within a double corridor, where the exterior corridor faces the workstations and the interior corridor houses the entry points to each built-out space.

Each floor hosts two meeting rooms each – a six-person meeting room and eight-person meeting room. As part of Morrison Hershfield’s new workplace policies, which were developed in conjunction with our Workplace Strategy Lead, each meeting room can be used by any member regardless of which floor the meeting room is located and can be booked via an online booking-system. Each floor also accommodates several focus rooms – 14 rooms overall – which are designed to be used on a first-come, first-serve basis, yet not to be treated as a private office. Each focus room is equipped with the right technology to make moving from a workstation to a focus room a seamless process.

Moving into this new office has also meant losing significant desk space. Within the engineering field, where reviewing large documents form part of their daily workflow, accommodations have been made to enable this workflow. Throughout the office, large drawing tables ensure a designated space is provided to review large documents while simultaneously promoting collaboration within teams.

Design: Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning
Photography: Michael Muraz Photography