The Toronto Headquarters of leading-edge furnishings design company, Umbra, breaks the mold for buildings in industrial parks

[GBP Note: Umbra showcases their designs by creating a bubble-wrap effect as a facade on a 1970's industrial building.  This is somewhat similar to the Atrium Corporate Center at 3800 Golf Road and Route 53 in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows, Illinois where 3Comm's CommWorks division put a facade and atrium on an older building and won design awards.  In any case, architectural distinction is a way for a business park to attract and add-value for tenants.]

Umbra’s high design in suburban industrial park: Hume
Published on Thursday August 30, 2012
By Christopher Hume

Even Gertrude Stein would have approved. Thanks to the Umbra headquarters building, one small corner of Scarborough has come in from the cold anonymity that surrounds it.

In other words: Now there’s a there there, a sense of place, something that doesn’t look the way it does because it had to be cheap and easy.

Indeed, Umbra’s building would stand out in any architectural crowd. With its translucent plastic façade and matching tower, it is hard to miss — and for all the right reasons.

Kohn Shnier Architects, which designed the complex in the late 1990s, is one of a handful of small Toronto practices recognized globally for their uncanny ability to pull off even apparently unrewarding projects such as this with aplomb.

Starting with a nondescript 1970s industrial heap, the architects reconceived it as a beacon, both literally and figuratively. The attitude, typical in these parts 40 years ago, that a building counts for nothing more than its purpose, has been done away with.

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By the way, can anyone tell us the name of the industrial park?  If you know, please put it in the comments, below.  Thanks!


To browse additional business and industrial parks in Canada visit Global Business Parks at:

Eastern and Atlantic Canada Business and Industrial Parks
Western and Central Canada Business and Industrial Parks





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