Continuing our Construction and Layout series, Real Strategy caught up with our client Danielle St-Aubin (Chief Executive Officer at Tree Canada) as well as Gillean Woods (Principal at TRUform Interiors) to discuss Tree Canada’s new office.
Moving from a dated building in a less desirable location, Tree Canada was looking for a change of scenery and something more central to minimize the need for commuting. They wanted to be part of a vibrant community and in a space that could better support their hybrid work efforts.
To help bring the unique needs of this organization to life, TRUform Interiors was engaged to help design and outfit Tree Canada’s new space. With a range of experience in residential, healthcare, commercial, and hospitality design, TRUform strives to incorporate ideas and feedback that reflect the desires and culture of its clients.
As a non-profit charitable organization that promotes the planting and nurturing of trees in Canada’s urban and rural areas to help bolster green infrastructure, having a space that encourages Tree Canada’s mission and growth was essential.
Tree Canada’s former workspace was in an older property with an awkward layout, too many expenses, and less natural light than desired. Realizing that they didn’t need a huge office, size wasn’t the main concern. Instead, Tree Canada was looking for a location that:
- Was central and encouraged their employees to walk, cycle, bus, or train to work
- Had a place for bikes along with shower accommodations
- Was more modern and filled with light but not a high-rise
“Our old office was actually bigger than the space we have now but it was much less efficient. There was a lot of wasted space and, given that we had determined we were going to go with a hybrid model, we decided to upgrade to a better location with a better layout while decreasing our office footprint.” — Danielle St-Aubin (Chief Executive Officer, Tree Canada)
All in all, the focus of the new design was geared towards supporting their culture and employees while still delivering on overall organizational needs. Having a team with an active lifestyle, and assessing the transportation needs of the employees was critical. Working with Real Strategy, Tree Canada opted to heat map where employees lived, to better understand the impact of a move on their potential commute to work by car, public transit, bicycle, or on foot.
Photo by Chris Roussakis courtesy of Tree Canada
Since Tree Canada is a charity, there were not unlimited funds to work with, which meant the new location, while needing to meet the functional requirements of staff and visitors, had to work within the proposed budget, yet still feel modern and attractive. Being able to reuse furniture and minimize the amount of waste was also in line with the organization’s sustainability priorities.
Another focus for Danielle, as she spearheaded this location change, was being part of a community. The folks at Tree Canada are the type of people that enjoy going out for lunch together, that want to have green space close by, as well as friendly neighbours. Their new location at 245 Cooper Street now has them situated in a highly residential part of downtown with the canal just down the street and, as Danielle put it…
“The whole environment is just different and it feels great!” — Danielle St-Aubin (Chief Executive Officer, Tree Canada)