When you’re 128 years old, you probably think you’ve seen everything. That’s not the case for the London Roundhouse, built in 1887 as a Michigan Central Railroad steam locomotive repair shop. The building has won the National Trust for Canada’s Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award for Building Heritage. One of eight buildings across Canada honoured this year, and the only one in London, Ontario, the award recognizes “excellence in the regeneration of heritage buildings and sites.”
The National Trust for Canada is a national charity that inspires and leads action to save historic places, and promotes the care and wise use of our historic environment. The charity has a track record of raising awareness for heritage conservation, saving heritage properties across Canada, and engaging Canadians in keeping their own historic places alive.
The national award comes just days after the Roundhouse was recognized provincially, with one of two Paul Oberman Awards for Adaptive Re-Use from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO).
“We’re entirely delighted by how the Roundhouse turned out. It’s an open, creative space that’s perfect for Ellipsis and Engine SevenFour—it enhances the collaboration between our team members, and fits the way we work and interact,” said David Billson, president and CEO of the two companies. “I love the idea that we’re connecting digital communities the way the original occupant connected physical communities.
Creative Properties preserved and restored the heritage aspects of the 7,500 square foot Roundhouse, but wired the building to support the two companies’ technological needs. The renovations included removing the wooden and brick additions that were added over the years, and digging out the four-foot deep concrete floor laid to make Sansone’s loading process easier. All of the original Roundhouse doors, and the majority of the windows, have been restored, making the space open and bright. The impressive columns supporting the roof have been restored. A double-decker suite of offices and meeting rooms has been added to the centre of the Roundhouse, with a kitchen and an upper-level lounge created in the east side of the building. Much of the transformation has been captured on the London Roundhouse blog at http://londonroundhouse.com/.
“Our goal from the very beginning was to find a place where our investment and commitment would be a win for our teams, a win for the neighbourhood, and a win for heritage preservation. This would have been impossible without dedicated and community-minded partners like Creative Property Developments and Nicholson Sheffield Architects. We’ve always had an office but now, for the first time, we have a home.” said a thrilled Shawn Adamsson, Ellipsis Digital’s VP Strategy.
The National Trust’s National Awards Ceremony and Reception take place on October 23, in Calgary, Alberta, at the Petroleum Club; the ACO recognition will be presented at the ACO’s Annual Awards Dinner at the Arts & Letters Club in Toronto on November 13.