Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) is an international growth company focused on gold, with operations in Canada, Mexico, Finland and the USA. Their LaRonde Mine in Quebec is Canada's largest gold deposit. When Taylor Smyth Architects was approached to design Agnico-Eagle's rapidly growing head office, they were occupying the top floor of a five storey building with dramatic views of St. James Park and cathedral. Working with Taylor Smyth Architects, they decided to stay in the building and expand to 17,000 square feet, rather than to relocate.
In order to minimize disruption, the project was designed to be built in two phases: first to build out the fourth floor to allow them to relocate, and then to gut and reconfigure the fifth floor, complete with a new interconnecting stair. The design makes subtle references to AEM’s core business. At the reception area, the back wall is composed of smooth slabs of horizontally grained travertine that abstractly evoke the geological strata of a mine. Embedded into the wall are random strips of gold coloured bars. A glass display case is also contained within the wall to showcase chunks of the raw mining material. This wall rises up two floors where the slab was cut open to accommodate an open stair that leads to the main boardroom.
At the opposite end of reception, the view is terminated by a feature wall comprised of stone cores that come from the bore holes made during the mining process. Mounted vertically, this multi-coloured stone creates a unique, richly textured composition.
The rest of the material palette was chosen to provide an elegant, dignified impression. Bamboo flooring was selected for key areas due to its environmentally friendly features. Light coloured limestone clads the elevator walls and floor. Cherry is used on doors, frames and frames.