Vector Institute

Toronto, Ontario
Design for Flexibility

The Vector Institute, an independent, non-profit research institution at the University of Toronto wanted a new institute at the downtown MaRS Discovery District.

Its team of globally renowned researchers is dedicated to the field of artificial intelligence so the space had to enable an agile and highly collaborative work environment. Thinking of the needs of the office both today and in the future, we worked with Vector to create a workspace that would illustrate Canada’s commitment to technology. Attracting global recognition and top talent was just a part of the plan. Together, we programmed a single floor to promote and maintain Canadian excellence in deep machine learning more broadly.

Planning The Space

The two main drivers behind the planning of this space were firstly, to strategically maximize the number of researchers, and secondly, maintain views of Queen’s Park to the north. These goals were achieved by placing program in enclosed rooms against the core and creating large open spaces in the centre of the plan. As soon as visitors enter the space, they have a view of the entire suite and the park beyond.


This project meets Perkins&Will’s Sustainable Design Commitment for Low–Emitting Materials and utilizes Certified FSC Wood as well as locally sourced and manufacture furniture. Located in a LEED Gold certified building, the design team ensured that all lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures within in their tenancy also aligned with the building’s sustainability certifications.

Generous social spaces have been designed to attract young talent by encouraging informal interaction and playfulness.
To accommodate Vector’s rapid growth, all enclosed offices have been designed with the same footprint as small collaboration spaces as a method of "future proofing."
Encourage Collaboration

A mixture of open and enclosed collaboration spaces have been provided for large town hall events, seminars, one-on-one meetings, and group discussions.

Communicate Brand

Vector is a relatively young company and it was very important for them to make their brand visible in the new headquarters. This has been achieved through strong use of colour and graphics throughout the space.

Project Team

Janine Grossmann