When commissioning the construction of a new Mercedes-Benz dealership in Burlington, Ontario, owner Ken Szekely was keen on creating a facility that exemplified modern architectural style with an emphasis on customer comfort. Inspired by the Foster + Partner’s McLaren Technology Centre in the United Kingdom, building design features include a striking two-story window wall that curves around a 12,000 square-foot (1,110 m2) outdoor reflecting pond, high ceilings and an open floor plan. Sleek and visually appealing yet comfortable interior features also include glass walls and doors, open staircases and limestone flooring.
Szekely’s background in construction and real estate development compelled him to not only think beyond the standardized Mercedes-Benz dealership design parameters, but also to incorporate numerous sustainable building practices.
“With this new building, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different – a place where we weren’t just selling vehicles to the luxury market, but somewhere in which our customers would enjoy spending time on a regular basis,” Szekely said. “Thus, we found ourselves asking ‘Why not?’ quite a bit during the design process, particularly when considering elements that would be both appealing and environmentally responsible.”
Referencing the Canadian Green Building Council’s LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines, the design team incorporated 16 major energy-saving innovations, including a REHAU radiant floor heating system installed throughout the 65,000 square foot (6,040 m2) building. This included two levels of new and pre-owned vehicle showrooms, as well as the dealership’s customer service, reception and lounge areas.
“I have a radiant system in my own home, and have experienced the unmatched comfort and even nature of heating it provides, as well as the exceptional level of zoning control,” said Szekely. “I’ve also seen firsthand how the efficiency of a radiant system can save on energy costs, particularly during the cold winter months here.”
“To meet the dual construction goals of a high-end facility that would also be as energy efficient as possible, REHAU’s radiant heating seemed a natural fit,” said Mark Euteneier, president of Klimatrol Environmental Systems, the project’s REHAU technical associate and supplier. “Radiant heating would not only promote energy efficient HVAC operation and ultimate occupant comfort, but, unlike forced air heating, would also minimize dust on the vehicles and windows.”
Radiant System Components
The radiant heating system included 54,000 feet (16,500 m) of 1/2-in. RAUPEX® O2 Barrier pipe and 16 PRO-BALANCE® manifolds. Additionally, 1 1/4- and 1 1/2-in. large-diameter RAUPEX pipe was used to provide underground supply and return mains to the manifolds. In the lower showroom area, the system used a RAILFIX™ fixing rail, which enabled the RAUPEX to be installed on the precast basement floor. RAUTACKTM foam insulation staples were also used to affix the RAUPEX to the floors in all slab-on-grade areas of the project.
Providing further comfort and safety for customers, the dealership also opted for the installation of a REHAU snow and ice melting system in the outdoor areas surrounding the building. The system, including a total of 16,000 feet (4,880 m) of 5/8-in. RAUPEX pipe and 7 PRO-BALANCE manifolds, was incorporated into all customer entrances and walkways, as well as the outdoor ramps to the dealership’s 17 service bays.
Since opening the doors of his new dealership in 2010, owner Ken Szekely has received numerous accolades from customers and the community at-large.
“Prior to construction, we worked with local officials to design a building that could also be used as a public event space and as a unique alternative to typical convention halls or hotels,” Szekely explained. “Since opening in 2010, the building has been host to major community fundraisers and other special events, and we’ve enjoyed seeing people use our space in such creative ways.”
Szekely also expanded the in-house amenities offered to customers, including construction of a spa, golf simulator and theatre adjacent to the lower showroom area.
“The benefits of radiant floor heating are very evident in the new customer amenity areas, which are located in the lower basement level,” he said. “Typically this environment can feel damp and cold, but the radiant heating provides an ideal climate where our customers are happy to relax and enjoy a manicure, watch a Formula 1 race or even get some professional instruction on their golf swing.”
The building recently received a first place Gold Maple Leaf Award in the “retail store design” category of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) 2011 Canadian Shopping Centre Global Awards program, and is eligible for the ICSC World Awards in Las Vegas in May of 2012.
At the corporate level, the dealership has been awarded the prestigious designation of Star Dealer for 2012 by Mercedes-Benz Canada for its exceptional performance in sales, service and customer satisfaction.
“Receiving this award in our first year of operation is an exceptional achievement, and also a concrete example of how thoughtful and innovative retail design can translate into bottom-line business value,” Szekely said. “We’ve additionally been told that Mercedes-Benz is considering including some of our unique building concepts as part of an updated design standard for all its Canadian dealerships. That’s pretty impressive, especially as we definitely pushed the limits to achieve our vision.”
|Scope of Project|
- 54,000 ft (16,500 m) of 1/2-in. RAUPEX® O2 Barrier pipe
|REHAU Systems Used|
- Radiant Heating (RAUPEX® pipe, EVERLOC® fittings, PRO-BALANCE® manifolds)