Vancouver, Edmonton, and Waterloo research centres draw on unique local design
May 29, 2019
How do you surpass a bar that’s already high? One way is to build something in the mountains.
With a peek of the Rockies from the window, our Vancouver research centre officially opens its doors today. RBC President and CEO, Dave McKay, will formally inaugurate the space and later join an informal panel moderated by John Stackhouse with Foteini Agrafioti and Vancouver research director, Greg Mori. It's the final ribbon cutting in a jam-packed season that also saw the completion of our new Waterloo and Edmonton locations.
Partnering once again with design firm Lemay, our vision was for each office to have its own identity and proudly represent the city it inhabits. This allowed Lemay full creative freedom to come up with interesting concepts that you wouldn’t normally find in a research centre.
Take a look at what we cooked up in the lab:
The main inspiration behind this research centre came from the institution that helped put the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor on the map: The University of Waterloo. With this theme in mind, we designed rooms to pay homage to campus life. There’s a student lounge, teacher’s lounge, science lab and track and field pitch. And what’s campus life without movies about campus life? When it came down to the decorative details, we honoured retro classics like Grease, The Breakfast Club and Teachers while acknowledging modern masterpieces like The Big Bang Theory.
While our Edmonton team has been established for two years, we wanted to make sure they had a space that reinforced the excellence of their research. In early February, the team moved into a place that drew inspiration from the city's great winter escape: West Edmonton Mall. The mall is legendary not just for its size, but for providing a scope of attractions that make it plausible to spend three entire months indoors. And when “fun” is your theme, the design possibilities create themselves. We set up a bowling alley meeting room (with pins hanging from the ceiling), a pirate ship kitchen (galley? kitchen?), mini-golf, and a water park in the living room. The pièce de résistance, and feature that makes every other non-Edmonton-based researcher jealous, is the sprawling outdoor terrace where the team can enjoy the Aurora Borealis on nights that don’t freeze water on impact.
Vancouverites are known for being a laid-back crew, so we tried a more mellow approach to our interior design. After all, it’s impossible to improve upon the natural beauty of the West Coast landscape. Our Vancouver space was designed to evoke scenes of cozy ski lodges, wildlife and mountain climbs. There’s even a room modeled after the city’s favourite mode of transportation – the bicycle –which is the embodiment of high- and low-tech in perfect tandem.
These spaces are even better in person. Be sure to check our Careers page regularly for job openings, or our Fellowships section for application opportunities.