Govan Brown




When Govan Brown was chosen as the construction manager for the new Google Canada office in Toronto, they knew this would be a project unlike any other.  Around the world, each Google office has its unique themes and features, chosen by employees known as Googlers, to reflect both their city and their highly collaborative working environments.  Spread over 89,125 square feet and seven floors at 111 Richmond Street West, the office is designed to wow visitors the moment they walk in. Three giant monitors are hooked up to a joy-stick to surf Google Earth while a camera-equipped robot waits nearby. A wall sculpture, made of Rubik’s cubes, seems to be falling apart in front of your eyes.  From a construction perspective, the offices posed special challenges. There’s a fully stocked micro-kitchen on every floor. The larger 14th floor café is built to restaurant grade to provide nut-

ritious meals around the clock. On the roof, a mini-putt golf course givesGooglers a chance to get fresh air with a unique view of the city.  To get the creative juices flowing, Google specified a fully equipped sound-proof music studio, in addition to a DJ room for turntable spinning. In the gym, a bike features a blender mounted on the rear wheel, so that a few minutes of peddling creates the perfect smoothie to produce even more energy.  John Wyman, Govan Brown’s project manager for this assignment said, “This was definitely an interesting project, but it stretched us too. Getting the mini-putt on the roof required extensive coordination. And whom do you call to create a secret meeting room accessed only by removing specific book from a bookshelf, or to create decorative screens from recycled bicycles? We managed it all, on time and on budget.”  But the offices aren’t just fun and

games. Working with HOK Architects and Oxford Properties, Google is aiming for the coveted LEED Platinum status for their new offices. Carpets, walls and even much of the lighting, are made from recycled or reclaimed material. All energy to power the office is 100 per cent renewable and waste and water are recycled.  The project was extensively covered by the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, the National Post and numerous websites and blogs. Dignitaries at the November opening ceremonies included Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and federal MP Peter Van Loan.  For Googlers, this may be just another day at the office. But for Govan Brown, it was a chance to showcase their construction management expertise to help create an entirely unique and environmentally conscious workplace in downtown Toronto.









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