Mountain Equipment Co-op

Toronto, Ontario


MEC’s goal was to produce an environmentally responsive environment for a large retail store in an urban location.


Our challenge was to design a retail environment that evoked the rugged nature of the members’ pursuits and made material and system “choices” which sustained and preserved the resources on which they rely for their adventures.


The solution was arrived at through various material and design choices. First, finishing of interior surfaces was minimized by exposing raw systems materials wherever possible. Skylights and clerestorey windows reduced the artificial lighting requirements, and some clerestorey windows were designed to be operable, which allow free cooling, reduce costs, and improve air quality. The wood used for the structural members and the decking of the canopy and sloped roof was reclaimed and milled. Controllable light fixtures with daylight and occupancy sensors help to reduce energy consumption, and a large “green” roof helped to increase the insulation value and continues to reduce storm water run-off and heat gain, and absorbs pollutants and produces oxygen.


The key to the project’s success was our ability to compare capital costs to life-cycle costs in order to evaluate the systems materials’ life expectancy and their recycled and sustainable characteristics. As a result of this thorough approach, MEC Toronto exceeded the ASHRAE 90.1 Standard minimum by over 37%.


Merit Award (1998)

Retail Store Design Over 10,000 ft2

International Council of Shopping Centers


Ideal Silver Award for Design Effectiveness (1998)

Design Exchange and the Financial Post


Green by Design Award (2006)

WoodWORKS, the Canadian Wood Council




Client: Mountain Equipment Co-op