Whitby Innovation Hub

The Whitby Innovation Hub is a business incubator which has been retrofit into the former Land Registry Office. The contemporary interior design was incorporated within the original materials and elements of the building to create a dynamic collaborative environment. The 1872 and 1927 portions of the building are designated under Part IV of the Heritage Act. The open spaces of the former Land Registry Office had been subdivided into small interior workspaces with dropped ceilings and poor lighting that fostered an uninspiring work environment. The Town of Whitby wanted to create a dynamic Innovation Hub and small business incubator. SBA created a plan for the Hub that fused historic elements within a modern design, and provided private office spaces that connected to a central collaboration zone. To accomplish part of this design, SBA coordinated the removal of the dated finishes and partition walls to expose the concrete, brick, and terra cotta materials beneath. The original record vaults were converted into smaller shared offices with floating ceiling grids to provide acoustic dampening while allowing the arched ceiling to be exposed. The original steel windows within the vaults were fully restored in keeping with the heritage of the Land Registry Office. The other non-heritage steel windows and entrance doors were replaced with new thermally broken steel windows consistent with the original design. For this “hard loft conversion,” the contemporary furniture groupings and glass office partitions were incorporated to contrast the rough textures of the terra cotta clad steel and the structural brick masonry of original construction. The polished concrete floor, the exposed remnants of security bars and previously infilled door openings further add to the visual interest of the space and express the history of the building. The glazed Teknion partition walls of the individual offices and meeting room provide a connection back to the central collaboration zone, and allow sunlight to penetrate to the centre of the building from three sides. The sliding divider wall within the meeting room adds to the flexibility and functionality of the space. Photography by Tom Arban Photography.