Special to Ottawa Construction News
Contractor Morley Hoppner and architect Barry J. Hobin & Associates have won the competition to design and build the Ottawa Innovation Centre’s first phase at Bayview Yards.
The Innovation Centre, which will be housed in a 46,000 sq. ft. heritage building at 7 Bayview has been described as the first step towards a renaissance in Bayview Yards.
Planning began with a Request for Qualifications released in November 2014. An initial respondent list of 12 was trimmed and those shortlisted were invited to bid on a Request for Proposals due on April 2.
There were four shortlisted finalists – only one locally-based. Scoring was based on the track record, architectural, technical, and engineering merits, environmental sustainability and overall added value for the project and the city of Ottawa.
“Everyone involved wants their project to be a success – whether an Innovation Centre like this one or anything else – but we, and the partners we work with, have long been driven by recognizing opportunities to support – and be supported – by the community,” said Ken Hoppner, principal with Morley Hoppner Group. “We have been successful in our design build endeavors but ultimately, we all – Barry and his team included – really wanted to do this one because of its profile, unique challenges and possibilities, and the opportunities it will create for the City of Ottawa.”
“Working within the Design Build process requires a good relationship,” he said. “Having gone through the good and the bad in all that we have worked on with Barry Hobin & Associates so far means that we understand each other, that we have established a proven track record and we share similar philosophies.”
The plan calls for redeveloping an empty city works space, turning it into a uniquely designed complex that will house entrepreneurs, start-ups, and more stable and established companies, while also providing meeting spaces, specialized tools and equipment, technical and business expertise,
resources and other services.
“The Innovation Centre is central to the redevelopment of a part of Ottawa that has been dormant for far too long,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “With the coming LRT system, the Innovation Centre is positioned to be a hub of activity and I am thrilled that the Morley Hoppner and Hobin & Associates Architects’ proposal was chosen during the RFP process. The firms’ history of excellence in design is well documented and I believe that their extensive knowledge of Ottawa and its history will serve the Innovation Centre project well.”
The Innovation Centre’s anchor tenant will be Invest Ottawa, an organization that helps businesses get started and grow their markets. In addition to facilities and resources that support entrepreneurialism, networking, mentoring and professional services, many other amenities – including a cafe, rooftop patio and a multi-functional space for presentations and gatherings — will be open to the public.
“This project presents a unique opportunity for us, as designers,” explains Hobin and Associates partner William A. Davis. “We understand the clientele and conducted significant research to enhance our insight into how they will use the building and we get to apply our creativity to that knowledge while also expanding on a heritage site.”
“In this case, we are acutely aware of both the opportunity and challenges,” said Hoppner. “We have the opportunity to create a building unlike any other but are accountable for maintaining a balance between vision, functionality, and the responsible use of public funds.”
The architect and contractor say the project will build on heritage to incorporate innovation and efficiencies – including LEED required environmental considerations – “resulting in an interesting and unconventional building that will serve its public for many years.”
Innovation Centre co-chair Jeff Westeinde said: “As an Ottawa-based team, Morley Hoppner and Barry Hobin & Associates recognized the exclusive Ottawa landscape within their plans for the project. They tapped into the Ottawa ecosystem, suggesting partnerships with local social enterprises and service providers with a good understanding of the environment. Ultimately, they had a good feel for what the centre is hoping to accomplish and for what will be a good fit for this city.”
The first phase of the Innovation Centre is expected to be complete in late 2016.