Workspace of the Month: Microsoft Canada’s New Tech-First Headquarters
In our Workspace series, CB is featuring interesting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups—like this beauty company run out of a rural farmhouse and this vintage-clothing studio—we are looking to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces from all industries. This month we are profiling the Canadian headquarters of Microsoft.
Microsoft just opened its new Canadian headquarters in the heart of downtown Toronto. Located in CIBC Square, a new office building near Union Station, the 12,263 square-metre facility takes up four floors and intends to serve as a hub in Canada’s tech ecosystem. The workspace is a meeting spot for Microsoft employees, partners and start-ups to collaborate. Its location was chosen to be easily accessible by train, subway or car.
The new facility features cutting-edge technologies, like large screens fitted for video meetings in every conference room, as well as Microsoft’s first Data Innovation Centre of Excellence—a space where experts, students and community partners can come together and work on research or projects in data, AI and mixed-reality technology solutions.
While Microsoft has a hybrid work model that lets staff work from home and come into the office for things like meetings, the Canadian headquarters is a spot that all 5,000 employees can use whenever they’d like—regardless of where they live in the country.
The architect of the space is Toronto-based Perkins & Will, and the interior was designed by ai3, an architecture and design firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The interior was inspired by Canadian geography: Meeting rooms are named after different Canadian cities; hash marks on the floor represent points on a compass; and wall decor is sourced from local artists, including Shaheer Zazai, Janna Watson and Rande Cook. The workspace features pops of “Canadian red” in places like staircases and on the second-floor reception desk where external guests are greeted.
Sustainability was top of mind while designing the new headquarters (locally sourced materials like stone from B.C. and wood from Ontario were used as much as possible), as Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030. To help meet this goal, the office is fitted with more than 3,000 sensors that track water use, energy consumption and Microsoft’s carbon emissions.
Here’s a look inside.