Architecture: „Allusion to raw material“

Bore hole cores as wall cladding.(December 2009) Listening to the customer is – and this is no secret – inspiring. Proof of the pudding is the décor of a Canadian mining company: walls were designed using drill cores after a visitor to the company jokingly asked the architects if they could use his waste material.

The idea turned into Toronto-based Agnico-Eagle Mines’ office-floor gem. The architects tackled the task as a prospector might be expected to – with utmost care they first spread the stone cores extracted from bore holes on the ground, to find the most expressive arrangement; they left the chalk-marks on the stone, even covering them with a protective coating, as such marks are trademarks of the geologists’ analysis.

„Allusion to raw material“ a mere subtle reference of design to the underlying mining process as Toronto-based Taylor-Smyth Architects expound. Over all „high-value raw material“ was used – bearing in mind that Agnico-Eagle is in the gold-mining business.

The back wall of the reception area „is composed of smooth slabs of horizontally grained travertine, into which random strips of gold-coloured aluminium were worked to evoke the geological strata of a mine.“ Two chunks of raw gold ore are displayed in an imbedded glass case.

Many of the design details revolve around mining and natural stone: the carpet bears a granite-like pattern, parts of the flooring and of the walls are clad in limestone plates, and the boardroom décor is underscored by a back-lit onyx stripe. Precious hard-wood elements complement the stone composition.

Blow-up photographs from the firm’s archives decorate the walls and show typical mining scenes. Visitors enjoy a panorama view of St.-James Park and Cathedral as well as of the St.-Lawrence Hall Dome from the roof-top terrace.

Taylor_Smyth Architects

Agnico-Eagle Mines

Photos: Taylor_Smyth Architects