In partnership with the developer Cadillac Fairview, Gensler transformed a former retail building into a workplace at Eaton Centre, North America’s busiest shopping centre with over 50 million annual visitors. Located at the bustling intersection of Dundas Street West and Yonge Street, the new workplace welcomes visitors via a dedicated lobby and entrance plaza for its future tenant, Bank of Montreal (BMO).
Marking Gensler’s largest project with this client, the scope of the retail-to-office conversion project included reskinning the building’s façade (from levels three to seven) to express BMO’s presence and complement the retail level below. The former retail building’s façade was outdated with yellow ceramic tiles, inefficiently using space with its asymmetrical angles, and let in little natural light. The new façade envelopes the building in glass, while linear fins add texture and complement the retail fronts with neutral tones. The building conversion project also added outdoor terraces and two 37-foot skylights that bring in an abundance of light to the large floorplates.
BMO’s entryway, set back from Dundas Street West, was previously a wide alley that supported the behind-the-scenes operations of the former retail centre. To enliven the inactive and dark space, the design converts it into an inviting, and well-lit plaza leading to BMO’s contemporary main lobby with lit pylons, contrasting and textured stone pavers, and concrete planters.
The new lobby and its façade were also treated with the glass reskin. The lobby is a sophisticated and balanced space with a neutral palette of marble stone flooring and walls, oak accents, brand blue lighting features, and well-tailored furniture pieces. With the elevator banks located further into the building, the redesign guides the guest journey through a tapered, sloped tunnel encased in linear lighting segments. Adjacent, an AODA-accessible ramp was treated with a wood slat partition to warmly accent the space.