Architect Janak Alford to lead Design Phase at Forthcoming Incubator
Ottawa design firm Prototype D, led by Janak Alford BArch/09, MArch/11, will be leading the design plans for the new innovation complex set for Bayview Yards off Scott Street.
The complex—designed to be a driver of economic renewal by assisting with the launch of new businesses—has an expected opening date of 2016, according to a project roadmap released by the City of Ottawa.
Alford, 31, launched Prototype D in the fall of 2011. The multi-purpose co-operative space provides a green screen production room, a 3-D printer, tools, professional advice and mentorships to its members. Carleton University Magazine featured the space in its 70th Anniversary Great Ideas edition.
Much like Prototype D, the city’s new complex—which will be called the Innovation Centre @ Bayview Yards—will help budding entrepreneurs take their ideas to market.
Prototype D will serve as the conceptual design firm for the early phase of development. Alford and his team will prepare preliminary designs for city council and staff at the province of Ontario. Alford is working on the ecosystem of businesses and services that will be contained within the space. Early drawings feature a digital “makerspace” for industrial design and prototyping, a digital media lab, a concourse area for pitching business concepts and a 24-hour-techno lounge, which will be a hangout for the public and also serve as a spot for presentations and live music.
“Ottawa needs a space where our hidden talents can really be brought together and celebrated,” Alford says. “I started Prototype D because I recognized there was a creative vacuum in the city with respect to a physical space with resources for creative people to just let loose and make amazing things.”
Alford says a new space should be open, bright, and engaging and the existing architecture at Bayview makes it possible to create a dynamic space for up-and-comers.
“The potential of this generation can find a foothold to move up professionally and make a big splash on our society,” he says.
Saad Bashir, manager of Economic Development and Innovation at the City of Ottawa, says the team at Prototype D brings a fresh perspective to entrepreneurship by embracing and promoting the melding of art, design, media and communications with business sensibilities.
“Prototype D’s proposal met our needs and thoroughly impressed us. We selected their proposal and have found them a pleasure to work with,” Bashir says. “They are brash and bold enough to challenge us, yet they respect the collaborative approach among our consortium and respond to our stakeholders’ various needs and desires.”
The innovation complex is at the core of the city’s economic revival strategy.
“As we build our city’s new economic engine, Ottawa needs a dynamic, world-class facility like this to foster innovation and support private sector job growth,” mayor Jim Watson, BA/83, said last year.
Alford says the new complex will become the creative outlet that many Ottawa entrepreneurs have been seeking for years. His design team for the Bayview project consists of 15 Carleton students and graduates, among others.
“We are a large, dynamic, and forward thinking team who really sees ourselves as being the future of a space like this,” Alford says. “We will want to use it as much as anyone else in the city.”
See Prototype D’s video about the new space.