In downtown Vancouver, on the top two floors of 725 Granville Street, lives the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC). With a variety of open and semi-enclosed workspaces, amenity rooms, lounges, and meeting rooms, MCEC accommodates three working groups and up to 750 employees.
Once home to Eaton’s and Sears, the building was reskinned with a new glass curtain on the upper floors. Behind that glass facade, the office interior, designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, makes use of the natural light and incredible views. Wood features heavily—from paneled walls to slatted ceilings—connecting the spaces to the forests of BC and the Pacific Northwest. To contrast, some areas carry a more industrial look or include colourful upholstery and carpet. Moreover, the contemporary open-plan design features pathways that flow among various work and amenity areas; it’s a flexible space that encourages collaboration and creativity, as well as productivity.
Consulting on architectural acoustics for the office fit-out, BKL joined the project in the design phase, and developed acoustical criteria based on industry best practice and Microsoft’s own design guidelines. For example, the Microsoft Design Guidelines (MDG) didn’t include acoustical criteria for audio rooms, where sound designers create and mix video game sound effects, so BKL identified a comparable spec in the MDG, adapted it for the audio rooms, and provided detailed recommendations to meet the specifications.
As the acoustical designer, BKL reviewed design documents and provided recommendations to
Once construction was underway, BKL carried out site visits to ensure the acoustical detailing was carried out as designed.
By working with the designers early in the project, BKL united the client’s own design specifications with project requirements to optimize the acoustical environment. As the project progressed, BKL communicated with the design team to consult on changes and highlight areas where the acoustical requirements would deviate from the client’s design guidelines.
Open-plan offices can sometimes create acoustical havoc, especially those with flexible, multi-use spaces. For this project, BKL applied its experience working on other open-plan offices and expertise in architectural acoustics to ensure the MCEC would sound as good as it looks.
Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre
142,000 square feet