Atelier Guy brightens the office and factory with its wood-and-glass block

Local studio Atelier Guy Architects completed the all-timber construction office And factory For the SmartMill Engineering Company of Levis, Quebec.

Completed January 2022, the 2,000-square-meter (21,500-square-foot) airy facility reflects the products and services of the client, a Quebec manufacturer of wood products. Smart Mailand has a structure made of adhesive sheets (glulam) Wooden columns and floor slabs.

The project was designed by Atelier Guy Architects

The building consists of two blocks: a square two-storey administrative wing with an inner courtyard and a rectangular workshop with a low barrel vault ceiling.

“The architectural design centered around an organic inner courtyard [that] It breaks the volume and creates a strong connection between the inside and the outside,” Atelier Jay Architects Dezeen team said. “This results in bright, open spaces closely connected to nature and the outdoors.”

The straight building of the smart mill
It consists of two blocks

The studio continued, “The use of wood in most parts of the building was a design choice that reflects the client and our company’s joint vision and desire to promote the use of local wood and build sustainably.”

The administration building is clad in low-maintenance local Easter white cedar, and arranged in both plain headboards and clapboards and siding adding texture and shade to the façade.

inner courtyard
The inner courtyard features lush vegetation

A curtain wall of high-performance, low-E glass wraps the second floor on the north and west sides, and vertical windows divide the sides along the ground floor.

The west-facing U-shaped courtyard is open to the street on the ground floor and is bounded by a glass bridge on the second floor containing office spaces.

Central staircase next to large floor-to-ceiling windows
Transparent walls bring light into the building’s interior

Curved interior angles soften the landscaped courtyard, translucent walls bring light into the building’s interior, and a central architectural staircase.

Above, windowed offices run along the perimeter of the building while an open plan work and lounge area overlooks the courtyard.

Simple interior painting with wooden ceiling
The interior material palette is simple

“Consisted of three large triangular sections of polished wood elements, the structure provides a column-free space, allowing for great flexibility in planning,” said the studio.

“The regular frame of glued-laminated timber posts serves as the main structural system and as support for the large windows.”

The interior’s material palette is simple — polished concrete floors with exposed rubble and white walls fade into the background and allow the exposed wood structure to be an accent.

The engineered timber structure continues in the single-storey factory space, but the orthogonal design transitions into an arched roof made of long, curved, glued timber trusses that allow an uninterrupted 22m span across the production floor.

“It features high ceilings capable of accommodating the two overhead cranes required for operations,” the studio said. “The simplicity of the timber roof and the integration of the wide horizontal window at the top of the workshop contribute to the impressive quality of the working environment.”

Manufactured by Atelier Guy
The engineered wood structure continues into the single storey factory space

The site has been planted with conifers and boreal small fruit plants, and river stone drainage slats are integrated with greenery to manage water runoff in an industrial context.

“Overall, the project showcases the use of sustainable materials, thoughtful design for daylight and thermal regulation, integration of green spaces and rainwater management,” the studio said. “Using wood as a renewable and local resource further reduces the building’s environmental footprint.”

Similar projects include the campus of a nearby technology company, Atelier Pierre Thibault. Completed in 2016, and The OVH office features a large boardwalk that crosses the interior.

Photography by Charles O’Hara.

Project credits:

Architecture team: Vincent Baudouin / Catherine Bouchard / Dany Berthelot
contractor: Ronam Construction Company.
Engineering (structural and civil): Jenny
Engineering (MEP & HVAC): CBTEC
Glue-coated structure: Massif art

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