Ethylene Control Center Renovation & Automation Upgrade

Chemical | Ontario, Canada

In the late 90s, a chemical company in Ontario had an existing structure that needed the addition of a blast-resistant control building. BAW Architecture employed trendsetting light therapy, fatigue offset and ergonomics that drastically reduced employee sick time and turnover. The bottom line was an ROI goldmine for the client due to these efficiencies.

This control building is a prime example of console strategy and lighting fitting together to brilliant effect. BAW positioned consoles under a daylight-simulating skylight, to help keep operators alert. Gathering data from recently published research, fluorescent light was installed that featured three different color temperatures. Simulating the passage of time, operators in effect experience a sunrise, broad daylight and sunset when the shift was nearing its end. The changing light was patterned to reflect the body’s natural bio-circadian rhythms.

With BAW once again acting as the industry trendsetter, this is the first example of daylight-simulating light therapy, cast lighting and ambient lighting ever to be employed in one room. Furthermore, all three types of light had to hit a sweet spot, such that the screen view would not be obliterated by too much reflected glare.

Any addition to an existing structure poses a cutover challenge, and it can be extremely complicated to keep all operations running smoothly while transitioning from old to new. BAW orchestrated a seamless cutover week by week, the whole plant stayed live, and the cutover was executed without a hitch.

Additional cutting-edge anti-fatigue elements also deserve mention, such as a fitness room to help operators rejuvenate; juicers instead of soda machines; and soothing nature imagery. ISO standards have since evolved to require scenery, so again, BAW’s groundbreaking thinking was way ahead of its time.

We respect the confidentiality of this client
5,000 sf / 464.5 sm
Ontario, Canada
1998 | Built


This was an “inside the fence” blast resistant control building that unified the strength of a bunker with the aesthetics of well-designed high-end commercial property.


Perhaps more than any other project ever undertaken by BAW, this project is a case study on the effects of great architecture and design on employee retention. It is also the poster child for return-on-investment for the client. Contact us to learn more about what our team can do for you.

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