Whitney Block Office Concourse Revitalization Injecting light and life into a forgotten basement

Whitney Block Office Concourse Revitalization

Infrastructure Ontario
Toronto, ON

The Whitney Block is an exceptionally important heritage office block within the Queen’s Park Precinct, across from the Provincial Legislature in Toronto. Designed in the Late Gothic Revival style (1925-7 and 1931-3), it is the Province’s first purpose-built government office building.

The Whitney Block Concourse project is the first phase of a multi-phase project of conservation, retrofit and renovation of the building. The project required the transformation of an unused basement into office space with facilities for staff.

The mandate was to design an open and collaborative environment that is flexible and can be adapted to future needs. The new Whitney Concourse provides 11,000 square feet of open office area complete with conference and meeting rooms equipped with integrated technology, social areas/staff amenities to encourage collaboration, and support space. A skylight was introduced to create a focal point in the plan and provide access to daylight.

Other features include light baffles around the perimeter of the office and acoustic glass panels that engage the workspace with the main circulation corridor. The renovation provides a balance of private spaces for confidential work and secure open, collaborative environments that promote solution-seeking through teamwork. 

This is an update of a nearly century-old building for a 21st century workforce. The new workplace is a people-centered design delivering a healthy, supportive workplace for employees in one of Canada’s pre-eminent government spaces.

This office serves as swing space to accommodate the larger project that THA is supporting (as Prime Consultant, Architect, and Heritage Consultant): a multi-phase interior retrofit and exterior conservation of the building. The work is divided into 20 phases to allow for continuous operations.