E-Newsletter Centre


Each issue, we share lessons learned from our practice and insights that we hope you'll find helpful, thought-provoking or just plain interesting. To read our latest e-newsletter, click here.


Latest News


Halwell Mutual Open House



With golden shears, Mayor Guthrie makes the opening official - Photo by Nicolas Bell.


Halwell Mutual Insurance Company celebrated their move to the Hanlon Creek Business Park with the opening of their new head office on September 6th. Guelph has been Halwell Mutual's home since 1861 and the custom built 14,500 square foot building is designed to meet their needs for the foreseeable future. Local dignitaries, business leaders and insurance industry colleagues were on hand as Mayor Cam Guthrie cut the ribbon, and Halwell staff welcomed the guests and offered tours of the new facility. “Halwell Mutual is successful, growing and optimistic,” said Marg Torrance, President & CEO of Halwell Mutual. “We believe Guelph to be a central and growing hub in Ontario, providing opportunities for businesses and families to grow together. We’re excited to spend the next 156 years here serving our local community.”


To view the Snapd Guelph article and more photos, click here.




Guelph rakes in the accolades



Guelph rakes in the accolades - Toronto Sun


Excpert from above...


The City of Guelph has earned a long list of accolades that shine the spotlight on everything from its enviable lifestyle to business friendliness. 


A personal finance publication even ranked it as the most attractive city for real estate investment value in Canada. 


"Strong economic growth from manufacturing and agriculture, helped keep the housing resale and rental markets strong," Money Sense editors concluded in their annual Where to Buy Now list. "And the red hot Toronto market is convincing some buyers to relocate and make the commute to work."


Halwell Mutual Grand Opening

In a recent survey, Guelph came in fourth in human capital and lifestyle and eighth for business friendliness. 




Breithaupt Block hopes to add 12-storey tower



Breithaupt Block Tower


The showcase Breithaupt Block, headquarters of Google's Canadian development team, is looking to almost double its office space with a proposed third phase that includes a 12-storey office tower across the street from the award-winning development.


The office complex, which would include a five-storey parking garage with a sixth level of parking underground, as well as street-level stores along Breithaupt, would roughly double the office space in the Breithaupt Block.


To read the full article in the Kitchener Record, click here.




MartinSimmons Promotes Jesse French to Associate



Jesse French, Associate, MartinSimmons Architects inc.


The firm is pleased to announce the promotion of Jesse French from Project Manager/Contract Administrator to Associate.


Jesse joined the company 11 years ago under its former name Robertson Simmons architects inc. He has excelled in contributing to the firm’s success through his extensive building detail background, wealth of on-site experience, and meticulous attention to detail.
Jesse’s knowledge and involvement were integral to the delivery of many high profile projects including BlackBerry’s Northfield Campus (Waterloo Region’s largest corporate campus), the Galleria Infill, and additions to Langs Community Health Centre (a first of its kind healthcare ‘hub’), as well as various school renovations.


BlackBerry Northfield Campus, Waterloo ON

Combined with his ability to build exceptional relationships with clients, developers and contractors, Jesse’s strong leadership and communication skills have earned him a well-known reputation for delivering projects that run smoothly; finishing on-time and on-budget.


As a graduate of the Construction Engineering Technology & Architecture program at Conestoga College, he has built his career through a deep understanding of the construction process and the foresight to proactively manage jobs.

We’re excited about Jesse’s new role with MartinSimmons and look forward to his continued contribution to the firm’s pursuit of architectural design and client service excellence. Congratulations Jesse!

*Completed by Robertson Simmons architects inc. prior to firm name change to MartinSimmons Architects Inc.



Robertson Simmons architects inc. changes to MartinSimmons Architects Inc.


Jason Martin and Patrick Simmons are pleased to announce that Robertson Simmons architects inc. will be changing its name to MartinSimmons Architects as of March 31, 2017.
MartinSimmons begins the next chapter of the firm's distinguished 70 year history and its pursuit of architectural design excellence. Its team will continue pushing the boundaries of its craft with forward-thinking clients through an engaging process rooted in collaboration. MartinSimmons remains committed to developing compelling solutions that strike a balance between purpose, need, design, sustainability, culture and human connectivity.



RSai's Residential Design Portfolio Continues to Grow


RSai is proud to share its latest architectural design project - a modern home with character and purpose beautifully built by Slotegraaf Construction. A photo gallery showcasing the home's interior and exterior can be found here.


Modern Home Design



New Halwell Mutual Head Office Breaks Ground in Guelph


Halwell Mutual Head Office Breaks Grounds in Guelph Ontario

From Left: On-hand for the ceremony were Halwell Claims Manager Tom Seaman, Board Chair Annette Winter, Halwell President and CEO Marg Torrance, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, Jason Martin from Robertson Simmons Architects and Peter Vander Klippe from Colliers Project Leaders. Article Photo by Bill Longshaw

The Hanlon Creek Business Park in Guelph will become the new home of Halwell Mutual Insurance Company's 14,500 sq. ft. Head Office. To kick-off construction, an official ground breaking ceremony took place on April 27 with Robertson Simmons Partner Jason Martin, Colliers Project Leaders, Halwell's Executive and Guelph's Mayor.


"We're excited to see Melloul-Blamey and the rest of the project team begin construction on this for Halwell Mutual," said Jason Martin, Partner, Robertson Simmons architects inc. "Through a lot of great client collaboration, we've created an exciting, dynamically-designed modern space that will accommodate the company's needs as it continues to grow in years to come."


To read the full article in the Wellington Advertiser, click here.



RSai Recognized at GVCA Building Excellence Awards


At a recent gala, RSai was recognized by the Grand Valley Construction Association for its contribution to two award-winning projects. Mammoet (located in Puslinch) won a GVCA Building Award of Excellence for the Industrial $10 to $20 Million category, while Kitchener's Breithaupt Block (Building One) received a Building Award of Distinction.


For a complete list of the 2016 GVCA Business Excellence Award winners, click here.




SAB Magazine Profile: Re-Purposed Brick & Beam Factory Preserves Heritage



Blacksmith Lofts, Cambridge ON


Sustainable Architecture & Building (SAB) Magazine takes an in-depth look at Blacksmith Lofts in Cambridge; a late 1800s factory adapted by RSai into beautiful lofts with historic preservation. The full article can be here.




Former Waterloo County Courthouse Renovation Complete


The $21M transformation of the former Waterloo County Courthouse, a regional heritage building well-known for its boomerang shape and Conestoga Wagon-inspired main entrance, was celebrated today with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.


Several regional officials were on-hand to mark the unveiling of an extensive renovation that brought back some of the splendour the Courthouse had when it first opened in 1965.


Jason Martin from Robertson Simmons Architects Inc., who worked on the renovation, said it was a special project. "This building has fascinated me since I was a child," he said.


The former Courthouse (now LEED® registered, targeting Gold certification) will become a new office for Regional staff from facilities management, waste management, information management and archives, and provincial offences.




RSai Selected by Waterloo Region District School Board for Five Year Roster
The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) has placed Robertson Simmons on its five year roster to provide architectural services for large, medium and small projects for the next five years.




Exchange Magazine Takes A Look At How K-W Is Transforming

Google Canada's Largest Office at Breithaupt Block Is Prime Example



Patrick Simmons, Jason Martin & Laird Robertson stand in front of Google's new home at Breithaupt Block


In Exchange Magazine's article “Lots of Growth…But Potential For Much More” RSai Partner Jason Martin shares his thoughts about Kitchener-Waterloo's core and how the community is transforming itself; with Google's new office at Breithaupt Block (pictured in the background above) being a prime example.


Excerpt: Google, Perimeter (Development Corporation) and Robertson Simmons are all key players among the visionaries who are bringing what Martin called "transformation" to the core of the cities of Waterloo Region - Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. The full article can be found here on page 12.




RSai Wins Third Place at Plasma Car Races in Support of KidsAbility



RSai Participates in the 2015 KidsAbility Plasma Car Races


On April 23, Robertson Simmons architects’ talented driving duo (made up of Jesse French, RSai Project Manager - pictured above right in hard helmet - and Kris Konig, a past RSai co-op student - pictured above left on red car) faced off against 20 teams in an elimination-style competition as they raced the hallways of KidsAbility at the 6th Annual Plasma Car Races.


RSai Wins Third Place in 2015 KidsAbility Plasma Car Race

When the dust settled, RSai won third place with Mighton Engineering taking second and Waterloo Honda scoring top spot.
“We had so much fun participating in this event,” said Jesse French. “Ball Construction generously supported our entry fee and RSai matched their contribution allowing us to donate $1,000 to this great cause.”

All of this year’s teams raised $15,335 to support Radiothon efforts and the ‘Kids Can’t Wait’ campaign. With the efforts on Plasma Car night, KidsAbility’s annual ”Kids Can’t Wait” Radiothon raised an outstanding $212,670!

All proceeds will help provide therapy to the over 900 children and youth with special needs on KidsAbility’s waiting list. Over 5,800 children and youth with special needs will benefit from the life-changing therapy and support services each year at KidsAbility.




Breithaupt Block Recognized as Office Development of the Year

Robertson Simmons Architects Celebrates NAIOP REX Award Win


Canadian Google Office, Breithaupt Block

Set to become the home of Google’s newest and largest office in Canada, The Breithaupt Block designed by Robertson Simmons architects inc. (RSai) was recognized this past week with a NAIOP Real Estate Excellence (REX) Award as Office Development of the Year.


On April 15, over 600 industry professionals, NAIOP members, sponsors and friends gathered for NAIOP Greater Toronto’s 14th Annual Real Estate Excellence Awards to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement, leadership and innovation of the office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate industry in the GTA.


The awards criteria focused on results (quality and performance), skills (teamwork, collaboration, innovation and creativity) and values (community and environmental awareness).


“We are so proud of this building and the privilege of being part of the project team,” said Jason Martin, Partner, Robertson Simmons architects inc. “Working through our proven process and collaborating with Perimeter Development Corporation and the rest of their team to design this building with the goal of creating a new dynamic landmark for downtown Kitchener’s premiere innovation district has been an exceptional experience.”


“The Breithaupt Block had some tough competition in its category with two other spectacular Toronto projects including 545 King Street West and RBC WaterPark Place,” he added. “We’re honoured by this recognition.”


As the longest running architectural firm in Waterloo Region, RSai has greatly contributed to the history of building great architecture in the community and is well-known for its expertise in adaptive re-use projects, with The Breithaupt Block being amongst many.


Now well underway, The Breithaupt Block, Building One renovation of an existing 1950s mid-century modern industrial building will transform it from a 2-storey to 5-storey structure. The existing building envelope was not suitable for a LEED® Gold office building and has been re-clad with a high performance brick veneer envelope, while detailed energy modeling will ensure that the project's energy efficiency goals are met. The third storey will provide a separation between the more traditional 2-storey brick base and the modern 2-storey glass box atop. Gentle creases in the glass box reinvent the idea of a typical glass box office building. A design approach that has certainly captured a lot of attention.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Patrick Simmons, Partner via email or by calling 519-745-4754.



Conestoga College Announces APFM Program Winner of RSai Studio Award



RSai Studio Award Winner Benjamin Luangxay

Student award recipient Benjamin Luangxay (centre) is joined by APFM professors Andrew Chatham (left) and Catherine Kilcoyne (right) lead faculty in Studios 1 & 2


At Conestoga College’s Bachelor of Applied Technology - Architecture, Project and Facility Management (BAT - APFM) Program awards ceremony on March 19, Benjamin Luangxay was announced as the winner of the RSai Year One Studio Award for the 2013-14 academic year and received $250.

The award recognizes one student who demonstrated strong academic achievement in their individual project work in APFM Studios 1 and 2. Only students who matched these criteria were invited to submit a digital portfolio of their work for consideration and review by RSai.

Benjamin’s projects certainly stood out. “His work demonstrated excellence in ‘hand-craft’ through models and drawings, while the portfolio presented and formatted the work in a very effective manner using key text to support engaging image content,” said Laird A. Robertson, Partner, Robertson Simmons architects inc. “It showed a distinct focus on the user/occupant in scale, function, concept and resolution. The work centered on elevating the experiences and accommodating the needs of the occupant,” added Robertson.

“It means so much for Benjamin to be recognized for the thoughtful and focused approach he demonstrated in his first-year Studio work,” said Catherine Kilcoyne, Professor, BAT - APFM Program, Conestoga College.



GVCA Journal Interviews RSai Partners “Getting Procurement Right - The Value Proposition”


GVCA Journal - Fall 2014 Issue


In the GVCA Journal’s recent article “Getting Procurement Right - The Value Proposition” RSai Partners Laird A. Robertson, Patrick Simmons and Jason Martin share their insights on choosing construction delivery methods.


Excerpt: In the interview, their message was clear: when it comes to today’s increasingly complex and high-stakes building design and construction process, choosing the right procurement delivery method to match the project timelines is critical. The partners went on to discuss three different delivery methods on three different projects. The full article can be found here on page 21.


RSai Builds With Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region



RSai Volunteers - Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region

Back row (L-R): Patrick Simmons, Laird A. Robertson, Andrew Vanner

Front row (L-R): Mark Buckley, Gabe Guy, Julia Evers, Alisa Moore, Andraz Kavcic, Jesse French

Kneeling: Kris Konig



Today, a team of ten RSai staff donned their hard hats, safety boots and gear to spend the day volunteering at Habitat for Humanity’s build site on Kehl Street in Kitchener. Habitat’s current project (made possible through the donation of a former landowner and a small right of way from the City of Kitchener) is a town home development of approximately 60 units.


Rallying with the Conestoga College Interior Design Students who were also participating that day, the volunteers quickly found lots to do such as moving drywall into three units currently under construction, assisting with general cleanup, as well as doing some carpentry.


“We are grateful for the opportunity to help and are proud to work with Habitat for Humanity again on such an important project that will continue to build strong communities,” said Andrew Vanner, Associate, Robertson Simmons architects inc.


“It was a great day! We met a lot of new people and hopefully helped to make a positive impact on the lives of many others,” added Vanner.


Photos of the RSai team in action can be found here.



RSai Studio Award Winners Announced for Conestoga College’s APFM Program


Robertson Simmons architects would like to congratulate the winners of the 2012/13 RSai Studio Awards announced at Conestoga College’s Architecture, Project and Facility Management (APFM) Program awards ceremony on March 21, 2014.


The following four students demonstrated the greatest aptitude, quality and presentation of architectural design through a year’s work of Studio projects and were each recognized with a $250 award:

RSai Studio Award Winners - Conestoga College
(from left to right)

Year 1: Abigail Gill

Year 2: Zahra Eslami

Year 3: Jessica Weinheimer

Year 4: Erik Collings


The top student from each year of study who demonstrates strong design ambition and judgment in the development of their Studio work and exhibits promise for success in an architectural related career earns this achievement.

“These generous RSai awards are now in their fifth year and continue to inspire and encourage APFM students to develop strong and integrative projects in their Studio courses,” said Catherine Kilcoyne, APFM Professor at Conestoga College. “We are so thankful for all of the companies who contribute to our awards program and the great partnerships we have established in the community, like the one with Robertson Simmons architects.”


Laird A. Robertson, Partner with Robertson Simmons added, “Our partnership with Conestoga College’s APFM Program has been extremely rewarding. I am always eager to see the drive for excellence these students strive for.”


“I was particularly delighted to hear that Erik Collings (now a graduate of APFM) was inspired to sponsor a program award of his own because of the recognition and encouragement he experienced through his receipt of three RSai Studio awards during his own time as a student. This is the highest compliment we could ever be given,” said Robertson.



BlackBerry Northfield Campus Buildings C & D Receive LEED® Silver Certification


We are proud to announce that BlackBerry Northfield Campus Buildings C & D (designed by RSai) in Waterloo have received LEED® Silver certification.


Robertson Simmons Wins City of Kitchener Mike Wagner Heritage Award


RSai was honoured to receive the City of Kitchener Mike Wagner Heritage Award for its work in the rehabilitation of Breithaupt Block. A short video about this exciting adaptive re-use project can be found here. (clip begins at time code 1:30)


RSai Selected By Region of Waterloo For New Philipsburg EMS Station


The Region of Waterloo has selected Robertson Simmons architects inc. to provide consultant services for the design and construction of a new 1,700 sq. ft. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) building located in Philipsburg Ontario.


Focused on adapting a proven building model to a unique rural site situated on the Nith River, RSai will work with The Region to assess local influences, determine if and how each one will affect the project, develop a plan to improve emergency response times through fast, safe, and efficient movement of EMS vehicles on and off the site, while ensuring the facility has a user-friendly design with ease of maintenance and operations.


"We are pleased to be working with The Region of Waterloo on another important project that will serve our community and its needs,” said Patrick Simmons, Partner, Robertson Simmons architects inc.



RSai Promotes Jason Martin to Partner


Robertson Simmons architects inc. is proud to announce the promotion of Jason Martin. With his relentless commitment to design excellence, superior client service and over 15 years of leadership experience in the field of design, contract documents and contract administration, Jason Martin, BArch, OAA, MRAIC, LEED® Green Associate, has been promoted from Associate to Partner.



RSai Proud to Support 2014 Leejay Levene Calendar Project

Established in 2008, The Leejay Levene Calendar Project is a yearly fundraising initiative that commemorates the life of Leejay Levene, a community member and prolific young artist who sadly passed away at 18 years of age during a routine wisdom teeth procedure in 2007.

Each year, proceeds from the calendar are donated to a different charity across Waterloo Region like Grand River Hospital Foundation, K-W Humane Society, K-W Symphony, and more.

This year, proceeds from the 2014 calendar (generated through calendar sales and sponsorships by local businesses for each of the 12 months) will go towards the creation of Leejay’s Lane (a permanent place at THEMUSEUM in Downtown Kitchener) for children and youth to explore their creativity and find their inner artist through dynamic arts programs. It will inspire the growth of a more creative community.

To learn more about Leejay Levene’s story, here is a recent article from The Record.


Sustainable Skills Centre at Loyalist College Receives LEED® Silver Certification


We are proud to announce that the RSai designed Sustainable Skills, Technology & Life Sciences Centre at Loyalist College in Belleville has received LEED® Silver certification.


École Secondaire Michel-Gratton Receives LEED® Gold Certification


We are proud to announce that the RSai designed École secondaire Michel-Gratton in Windsor has received LEED® Gold certification.



RSai Selected by Waterloo Catholic District School Board for Vendor of Record (VOR) List


The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) has selected Robertson Simmons for its VOR list to provide architectural services for new schools, additions and renovations for the next five years.


RSai Residential Garage Design Wins Most Outstanding Indoor/Outdoor Living Space Award



On Friday evening, more than 425 industry and community leaders, dignitaries and supporters gathered for the 17th annual Waterloo Region Home Builders' Association (WRHBA) Sales and Marketing (SAM) Awards of Distinction. The awards recognize the best of the best in residential development, construction, renovation, design and sales/marketing.


Robertson Simmons architects, in partnership with Slotegraaf Construction, received the Most Outstanding Indoor/Outdoor Living Space Award for its Salisbury Residence Garage project (pictured below).