Since 1971, MEC, Canada’s leading outdoor retailer, has been passionate about inspiring and enabling people to lead active outdoor lifestyles. From city streets to backcountry trails, MEC matches people with the expertise, experience, enthusiasm, and gear they need for camping, snow sports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, running, and fitness. The business and products they sell have the smallest possible footprint, and customer purchases help conserve the places where people live and play.
East Vancouver, Canada
Industry: Outdoor Retailer
Area: 112,000 sq. ft.
Proscenium Architecture & Interiors
Having outgrown their former main office, MEC wanted to build a new facility that would drive the vibrance of an outdoor culture, support core values, promote collaboration, and enable adaptability for expansion in the future. Serving more than 3.5 million co-op members is a huge undertaking but when MEC’s employees love where they work, they happily support members living active outdoor lifestyles. The organization’s brand and design of the East Vancouver headquarters are major factors in attracting and retaining the passionate people MEC hires—the space effortlessly provides areas for both work and play.
Two slender intersecting bars define the building’s form to create a narrow floorplate penetrated by natural light. An atrium space with a feature stairway gives people connectivity and visibility right in the heart of the building—enabling sight lines and connection for focus work, collaboration, and breaks.
Several unique spaces embody MEC’s active lifestyle brand and culture. The bouldering cave and storage area for 128 bikes support MEC’s rich climbing and cycling culture. A multi-purpose room for large gatherings serves as a venue for fitness and yoga classes. The fourth-floor cafeteria with an adjacent garden draws employees through the building to a space where they can gather and socialize.
MEC’s culture and values are embodied in the construction and design of the building—providing a healthy, inspiring space where people can do their best work while limiting the impact on the natural environment. The office building was designed to meet the Platinum standard of the LEED green building rating system, exceeding the City of Vancouver’s requirements. The building is estimated to be 70 percent more energy efficient than conventional Canadian office buildings.
Haworth partnered with MEC to understand the organization’s active and vibrant culture, as well as the workstyle needs for different working groups. Inter-connected workspaces were designed to ensure collaboration between work teams. A kit of parts solution keeps spaces flexible for MEC’s key functional areas: call center, collaborative/group space, training, managerial, executive, conference rooms, and unassigned locations. Spaces with soft seating offer ideal settings for spontaneous or planned meetings, and height-adjustable worksurfaces let people choose to sit or stand while they work.