Gowlings Building, Hamilton, ON

Oct. 1, 2007

Project Innovations 2007

A critical component of a set of classical buildings clustered around the Main and James intersections in Hamilton, ON, the former One Main Street West facility retains its stature as a historic and integral landmark following both a modernization and construction of an addition.

Today, the derelict 70-year-old structure is a modern law office. During its redesign and reconstruction, however, the project team had to work through numerous heritage concerns and bylaw compliance issues.

Special Design Feature
The west side of the building is the only side not designated as "historically significant," so almost all new construction occurred on that side. The aesthetic of the addition was carefully refined to echo - not mimic - the lines of the existing bank building. In effect, a new building was constructed right next to the old one, and what had been an exterior wall was now enclosed by a new structure with a number of tall windows retained. As a result, occupants exiting the elevator on the second floor get a panoramic view of the great hall through the old windows.

Design/Construction Challenge
Although the existing and magnificent east façade would have made a dramatic main entrance for the modernized building, security and access control became much more problematic. By making the main entrance part of the new construction on the west side, the team created a modern lobby with appropriate, state-of-the-art systems.

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