Metro Terrebonne Distribution Centre
Photos: Adrien Williams
Food leader Metro has chosen Terrebonne for its new automated fresh and frozen goods centre, to take advantage of its proximity to Highway 640, linking Montreal and Quebec City. With some 550,000 sq. ft. of refrigerated and frozen warehousing, the building reaches a maximum height of 112 ft. to maximize the efficiency of its operations.
Automation of distribution activities
The project is part of the company’s investment program to modernize its distribution operations. Thanks to its new state-of-the-art automated systems, the new facility not only enables the grocer to offer a wider variety of products to Quebec consumers but also makes employees’ work safer and more pleasant.
The warehouse is divided into two main areas, one refrigerated at 5 degrees, the other maintained at -25 degrees for frozen products. Each storage area includes a distribution mezzanine accessible via a 100-foot-high elevated walkway.
In addition to designing the architecture and executing the project following Metro’s objectives, GKC acted as prime consultant. In this capacity, we were brought in at the earliest stages of the project planning, ensuring the best decisions were made, especially regarding the interface between the automated systems and the building’s own systems and structure. We also ensured the coordination of the various professionals and trades in a spirit of collaboration, respect and transparency to ensure that the project schedule and objectives were met.
This large-scale project required the tightest coordination regarding refrigeration requirements, the steel structure resulting from the extra height, and the fire protection systems. Numerous equivalencies also had to be identified to meet building code requirements. Respect for the environment also motivated numerous decisions regarding site planning, spatial layout and selection of materials.
Safe, attractive and modern design
The facility also incorporates a 100,000 sq. ft. administrative center spread over three floors; the company wanted to enable its 250 warehouse employees and some 500 office staff to work together in a single location.
Numerous services were provided for the well-being of employees: a cafeteria seating 400 people with a preparation area and a commercial kitchen, an exercise room, a yoga room, as well as multi-purpose meeting and training rooms. In addition, the project also includes a day-care center for 80 children, which will also be available in a separate building next door.
Architecture and design
The building is designed in Metro’s corporate colours, recognizable by the bright red of its brand image. Particular care was taken to liven up the facades, introducing different colours for the various building sections, and embellishing the blind walls with long vertical stripes in a random rhythm, tempering the impression of the building’s length.
The administration block, meanwhile, offers natural light to office workers with its black curtain wall. Here again, opaque black vertical stripes energize the facade, both in the glazed upper section and at the metal base of the first floor, as well as extending horizontally across the pavement surrounding the building.
The office interiors, designed in collaboration with Imperatori Design, feature warm, natural wood and metal, reminiscent of the facility’s industrial vocation.
The Bois de l’Épinette, which runs alongside Boulevard de la Pinière, has also been preserved. In addition to providing a soothing natural landscape for office workers, it also serves as an acoustic barrier.