The 120,000 square foot City Hall embodies Richmond City Council's vision for a landmark facility that will redefine the City's image as a progressive urban centre. The facility allows for a high degree of public accessibility as well as providing an effective workplace. The creation of an environment that ensures improved customer service was one of the key design considerations of the building.The facility is comprised of four major building components including: a Council Chamber and south terrace water garden; the "Meeting House" including meeting rooms and galleria; an eight storey administrative tower with the "front of house" at the base which provides one-stop shopping services for City Hall customers; the West Terraces which provides informal public open spaces, and a Civic Square which will accommodate major civic events and celebrations.
|The meeting house is a dramatic two storey pavilion which provides a dignified yet informal setting for meetings, and civic events. From the Meeting House, direct access is provided to the Council Chambers, Mayor and Councillors' offices, meeting rooms, senior administration and café.|
Adjacent to the meeting house is the City Hall's "Front of House" which will allow customers to do "one-stop shopping" rather than have to meet with individual departments on various floors. All information from the various city departments will be dispatched at one easily accessible front counter. Multimedia computers, and information kiosks will also be available for customers interested in self-service.
- The public indoor and outdoor spaces are well connected to ensure that the facility is inviting, convenient and very accessible to the community.
- Although the front door is on No. 3 Road, universal access is provided for cars, pedestrians and cyclists from all directions.
Effective work place
As human resources are the best asset of municipal government the facility design creates an efficient and healthy workplace. This is achieved in the following:
- work environment flexibility through the employ of minimal component system furniture, demountable partitions, raised access floor, integrated cabling system (IBS) and wireless phones.
- convenience services such as central coffee/copy centres, meeting rooms, and washrooms on each floor.
- staff exercise room, lounge area and secure parking.
- balconies which provide physical and psychological access to outdoors on every floor.
- new ergonomic workstations incorporating adjustable seating, desk height and lighting.
- glare on computer screens minimized through the use of indirect lighting.
- access to light and views, good air quality and natural ventilation with opening windows.
- enhanced circulation using perimeter glazed stairs with appealing views to encourage use of stairs.
As an evolving environmentally responsible mandate The City of Richmond has embraced principals of sustainability in this facility. These include:
- the retention of existing features such as heritage trees which are an urban amenity and aid in stabilizing soils and preserving important drainage patterns;
- reintroduction of indigenous low maintenance trees to landscape area which will reduce operating energy through seasonal shading and a tempered micro climate;
- the use of materials and products such as concrete, stone and wood to reduce life cycle energy, premature obsolescence and reduce construction waste;
- the exploitation of day lighting by using frit glass (narrow strips of white lines that run horizontal across the window pane to cut down on glare from the sun), and solar shading devices (erection of an overhead barrier just above the outside of a window to block the glare of sun shine while allowing in natural light);
- operable windows are included for natural ventilation, in conjunction with high efficiency HVAC system yield a reduction of HVAC plant size and operation energy;
- building as an 'assembly of parts' group functions and environmental controls rather than attempting one universal system;
- exterior shading devices;
- high performance glazing;
- maximized daylight potential;
- low level lighting and individual task lighting;
- dimmable daylight sensors and occupant controls;
- automated after hours lighting control; compartmentalized HVAC system adaptable to future change in occupancy and layout;
- bicycle storage;
- design approach which involves interdisciplinary integration to achieve the best overall solution rather than a collection of single disciplined solutions.
The use of technology in the day to day operation has been recognized as continually evolving and is perhaps limitless. The facility supports this idea with the following:
Integrated cabling system (IBS) This structured common cabling system will eliminate future duplication, have increased effective change management. This system will make operation reconfigurations easier, quicker and more cost effective. The initial installation includes have data, voice, video, security, HVAC and wireless phone all supported from this one cable plant, Subject to technical review, additional applications will be supported by this system in the future.
Cabling system: The facility's cabling backbone is fibre optic. This initiates a corporate wide area network supported by fibre optic cable. There is active fibre optic cable to half of the workstations in the project and all meeting rooms with the availability to all areas as required.
Wireless phone system: staff can move freely through-out the project while maintaining full access to all of their desktop phone features.
Network systems: Servers and user networks switches will have a direct Gigabit Ethernet connection to ensure the highest possible network performance.
Video conferencing: in addition to the remote control television cameras and fibre optic link to Rogers Communication main office, the Council Chamber has the capacity of hosting video conference up/ down links. These televised events can be broadcast to all meeting room through out the facility.Training Centre
The top floor of the facility will be devoted to a corporate training centre. Dedicated leading edge communication and instructional technology will be employed. The environment will exploit the full potential of the facility's infrastructure to provide a flexible environment for training.