The Auto Workers Community Credit Union (AWCCU) is a locally owned and controlled financial co-operative founded in 1938 for auto workers and their families. Profits are used to enhance products and services or returned to the Membership, adding value to the community and enhancing pride of ownership among members.
The project designed by Taylor_Smyth architects consists of a major facelift for an aging existing building. Thoroughly renovated, the building was transformed, both from the inside and the outside. The elevation facing oncoming traffic on the busy one-way street, which used to be mostly solid, is now a luminous composition of channel glass and clear glazing that embodies the openness of the AWCCU to the larger community.
Photographs by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.
Signage elements are incorporated as integral design components: the street façade slides out as a perforated aluminum plane to become a backdrop for their logo; another sign projects from a concrete wall that leads to the main entrance.
Inside the banking hall, a warm palette of rift cut oak creates an open, visually accessible environment, at the centre of which sits an elliptical form bisected by an oak screen, with the reception desk on one side and a waiting/reference area on the other. Staff is now all on a single floor, facilitating contact with members.
Both day and night were considered in the design. At night, the building is transformed into a glowing composition of transparent and translucent elements, as the perforated metal sign becomes luminous, lit from both front and behind, and the windows and channel glass emit a warm, inviting light.
The newly renovated building stands out as an elegant landmark in Oshawa, a small city bordering lake Ontario and home to the Canadian division of General Motors Corporation. One of the most striking elements is the discovery, as one moves along the street façade, of the void framing a view of the sky between the body of the building and the perforated metal sign.
Project Deatails and Credits:
Client: Auto Workers Community Credit Union
Completion date: 2008
Cost: $2.85 million
Size: 19,600 square feet
Architects: Taylor_Smyth architects
Project Team Michael Taylor (Partner-in-Charge), Brian Harmer, Janny Chan
Photography Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.