The 8,000 sf BMO Bank of Montreal Bloor Manulife Tower (BMT) Branch has existed in the building in several locations over the last few decades. Its most recent iteration started because of the Landlord’s changes to the podium, where they extended it with a new glazed façade out on Bay, Bloor, and Balmuto Streets in Toronto. With this renovation, they brought in a new major culinary tenant above the premises, which required significant kitchen coordination. The new podium and culinary tenant meant BMO had to relocate their branch temporarily during renovations. BMO’s tenant team coordinated the relocation of the branch into the temporary tenant space, while working on the new space design.
The new state-of-the-art space offers a reimagined customer experience, with indoor mall access – and for the first time in two decades —a retail storefront to allow for pedestrian access from Bloor Street. On the exterior, the blue glass portal is backlit with LED lights, requiring coordination with the Landlord to get the coloured interlayer well in advance of the project. The mall portal consists of back painted glass and polished epoxy flooring, signifying entry into the branch itself.
In order to maintain the full functionality of the branch for the temporary location, BMO’s team coordinated with the Landlord to install the vault and a desk for a bank employee to be accessible during bank hours during both the Landlord’s renovation of the space, and BMO’s renovation of the space, ensuring continual client and employee safety in the middle of the construction site.
The design of the branch took the standard office partitions and modified them, creating an undulating façade of glazing that creates areas for different functions within the branch itself while it tucks away the back of house spaces such as storage and employee meeting spaces. This free-form geometry results in glass office fronts that reflect the sophisticated Yorkville area shops. Further back, the offices create a private suite for the Wealth Management portion of the branch.
Gross Project Area
8,000 sq. ft.
Donna Eng, Keith Button, Simrandeep Chadha
2019 REmmy Winner - Workplace 5,000 to 20,000 sq. ft.
TMP (Mechanical), Lapas Engineering (Electrical), WSP (Structural), Stingray (Digital)
Tom Rideout, Industryous Photography
The design brings in accents of walnut wood throughout the space, in all the work surfaces, but also in the wood walls highlighting the uniquely branded Wealth Management area. The BMO blue privacy film between the Personal Banker desks is mirrored at the glass fins between each of the offices, creating a new branding style while still using standard BMO furnishings and finishes.
Both entries include significant branding opportunities for clients, and the BMO marketing team collaborated with the design team during the initial project phases. LED screens wrap around the central columns of the branch, welcoming visiting clients and visible from the teller lines and from the mall entry. Behind the main entry teller line, visible through the BMO Blue portal on the building’s exterior, is a large, curving, thirty-nine-foot-long and 8-foot-high LED screen that conveys both BMO Branding, local community events and nature-scape messages.
At night, the nature-scape and community-focused images become artwork for the city outside to experience. Similarly, a large-scale panoramic photo taken from the top of the Manulife building at the time of construction highlights key Toronto landmarks in the ATM vestibule in mural form. This mural is part of a successful network-wide initiative to represent local elements in branches, highlighting BMO’s connection to the local community.
Taking standard office spaces and creating an undulating wall takes the branch from even and uniform, transforming it into a dynamic working environment. The materials used are not all new and unique, but uniquely applied to create a welcoming space for employees and clients that illustrates the BMO Brand effectively.
The branch has been in multiple locations in the mall over its history, and Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. has see through many of its iterations and location. The diagram (below) represents the location and look of the branch at each renovation within the Bloor Manulife Tower.
Awards & Recognition
REmmy Award Winner
Workplace Award – 5,000 to 20,000 sq. ft 2019
We're living in a time of incredible consumption, and everything's about economics and everything's about cash flow, and I think Jonathan Kearns has an ability to stand away from that stuff and feel something that motivates him. He's motivated to do his work in a way that I think a lot of architects and a lot of designers aren't. What I'm saying is that he's got a depth of emotion and feeling, and it comes out.
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Canadian Centre for Architecture
Working with your team has been an unmitigated joy. Their creative imagination, professionalism and goodwill made for a harmonious working relationship the results of which I get to enjoy every day. We are thrilled with the outcome of their work and very proud of what we were able to "concoct" together.
Dr. Gerd Hauck
Director of the REAL Institute
I have had the pleasure of working directly with Kearns Mancini Architects on the University of Toronto's Micro-Satellite and Technology Centre. I am happy to provide a positive review of their incredible work. I highly recommend Kearns Mancini because of their high-quality service to clients, design prowess and project management skills.
Dr. Robert E. Zee
Director, Space Flight Laboratory (University of Toronto Insitute of Aerospace Studies)
Kearns Mancini Architects is an effective problem-solving team with positive project management skills carried out by their cohesive team of experts. Their attention to detail and knowledge of local school cost/schedule framework has always delivered effective benefit to our Board. Moreover, the quality of Design of this architectural group is outstanding.