MEC is a Mountain Equipment Co-op inspiring Canadians of all ages to play outdoors in self-propelled ways.
People have powerful, personal motivations for being active outdoors: challenge, camaraderie, exploration, or simply health and fitness. Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is the outdoor retailer that inspires and enables them to lead active outdoor lifestyles.
Having outgrown its former head office, the organization was seeking to build a new facility that would drive the vibrance of an outdoor culture, support MEC’s values, promote collaboration, and enable adaptability for expansion in the future.
MEC had tripled in sized since its last office move, and the business had changed substantially. Consistently ranked in the top 100 of Best Employers, MEC personnel bring passion to all they do, from serving members to sourcing product, and going to market. To fuel this passion, they needed a collaborative work environment that supported MEC’s mission of getting people outside. They were also driven to foster a culture of excellence, creativity and productivity, and fulfill the organization’s sustainability objectives. A major factor in attracting and retaining the type of passionate people MEC hires, the new facility had to express the organization’s brand with spaces for both work and play.
MEC decided to build a new head office in East Vancouver. Key space planning objectives were to create environments that supported multiple workstyles as well as a high degree of collaboration. The new workspace would both enable and represent the culture shift the organization desired for the nearly 400 people who work there.
Two slender intersecting bars define the building’s form to create a narrow floorplate and provide penetration of natural light. An atrium space with a feature stairway gives people connectivity and visibility right in the heart of the building’s 112,000 square foot space, enabling sight lines and connection among people.
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 also serves as a venue for fitness and yoga classes. The fourth-floor cafeteria with adjacent garden draws employees up through the building where they can gather and socialize.
Haworth partnered with MEC to understand the organization’s active and vibrant culture, as well as workstyle needs for different work groups. Inter-connected workspaces ensure collaboration between work teams and high-degree of operational efficiency. 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. Adjustable worksurfaces let people choose to sit or stand while they work.
MEC’s innovative new workplace supports creativity and collaboration now and into the future. The organization’s culture and values are embodied in the construction and design, providing a healthy, inspiring space where people can do their best work. MEC’s new head office facility was designed to meet the Platinum standard of the LEED green building rating system, exceeding the City of Vancouver’s requirements. It is estimated to be 70 per cent more energy efficient than conventional Canadian office buildings.
Serving more than 3.5 million members is a huge undertaking. When MEC’s employees love where they work, they happily support members living active outdoor lifestyles.
From members and employees to the communities we serve, MEC exists to support people, to help them be active and enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation. Not only does our new headquarters embody this passion, it is a space that supports the culture, collaboration and innovation required to meet the demands of MEC’s progressive business.
Canada’s leading outdoor retailer, MEC is passionate about inspiring and enabling everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles. From city streets and yoga studios to backcountry trails and pristine waterways, MEC matches people with the expertise, experience, enthusiasm and gear they need for camping, snow sports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, running and fitness.
Architect & Design Firm: Proscenium Architecture & Interiors, Vancouver, British Columbia
Haworth Furniture Dealer: Brooks Corning, Vancouver, British Columbia
Haworth Flooring Contractor: Camino Modular Systems