Roundhouse coworking space is now open inside MacEwan University’s Allard Hall

MacEwan University’s new coworking space Roundhouse held its grand opening celebration this afternoon inside Allard Hall. In addition to facilitating collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and alumni, the space is open to the broader community of local entrepreneurs, volunteers, and other “changemakers”, as Roundhouse calls them. “We’re a coworking space that is focused on building a community of changemakers through innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Amor Provins, senior manager at Roundhouse. “Together with MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Institute, we’ll be working to empower people and make a positive impact in our world.”

Roundhouse Grand Opening

Special guests at today’s event included Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education, who made everyone laugh with his train-related “Dad jokes”, thanking the organizers “for choo-choo-choosing him to open the space” and noting it “will lay tracks for the next generation.” Scott McKeen, City Councillor for Ward 6, and Elder Francis Whiskeyjack both brought remarks as well.

Attendees learned about the Roundhouse name and logo, both of which have significance. “When excavating the site for what is now Allard Hall (where we will be located), a train roundhouse was unearthed.” It serves as a metaphor for going in a new direction. The logo is a 13-sided shape called a triskaidecagon. “This number, that is so often perceived as unlucky, is also of significance in Indigenous cultures.” It is meant to represent Indigenous talking circles, because “at Roundhouse we believe a life-changing idea can come from anyone.”

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MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Institute “provides leadership and support towards fostering a culture of social innovation, engaging MacEwan students in initiatives and opportunities that have impact locally, regionally and globally.” Founding director Leo Wong said “as a downtown university, we focus on creating meaningful relationships with our neighbours to improve the economic and social vibrancy of our city, as well as being an environmental steward.”

Allard Hall

Roundhouse is located in the southeast corner of Allard Hall, the newest building MacEwan’s campus. It looks as you might expect a modern coworking space to look, with clean lines, bright accent colors, and plenty of natural light.

Roundhouse Grand Opening

Roundhouse offers a Community Membership for $40/month that includes access to the common areas and all of its perks, including WiFi, the kitchen, special rates on programs and events, and of course coffee & tea “to fuel the magic.” Programs include office hour consulting sessions, mentorship opportunities, and workshops to build new skills.

The space includes plenty of meeting rooms, from small spaces for 2-4 people, all the way up to large conference rooms that can accommodate 20 people. The rooms can be rented by the community, and members have access to them for a certain number of hours per month.

Roundhouse Grand Opening

Hot desks can be rented starting at $80/month and dedicated desks rent for $400/month.

Roundhouse Grand Opening

They also offer private offices starting at $700/month for up to 4 people.

Roundhouse Grand Opening

There is lots of flexible seating scattered around the space, including some giant bean bags that are waiting to be put into use!

Roundhouse Grand Opening

It’s a functional space, with a print room, kitchen, lots of power outlets, and all of the typical amenities you’d expect. But it’s also a fun space, with features like these pedal-powered charging stations!

Roundhouse Grand Opening

Learn more about Roundhouse here, and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Roundhouse is celebrating its Launch Week with a number of “thought-provoking speakers, workshops, and community events” so there are plenty of opportunities to check out the space.

You can see more photos from the grand opening here.

More on co-working

coworking A couple weeks ago I posted about WorkSpace in Vancouver, and suggested it would be good to have something similar in Edmonton. Clearly I’m not the only one, as there were quite a few comments on both that post and Twitter. Cam posted a link to Edmonton’s Beans and Boardrooms, which while not quite the same concept, looks interesting.

Last week Sharon sent me this Globe and Mail article on Citizen Space in San Francisco:

Sebastien Provencher takes the bus into San Francisco for another day at the office. At the third-floor loft of Citizen Space, he sits at a desk, fires up his laptop and gets to work.

This type of service, known as co-working, lets travellers like Provencher rent a desk in a communal setting. Once mainly the province of tech-oriented freelancers, co-working centres are attracting a broader spectrum of consultants and small-business people in search of space to work – and network – on the road.

Citizen Space and WorkSpace sound very similar. The most interesting part of the article is found near the end:

Today, there are co-working sites across the country that welcome out-of-town visitors, including others in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Thunder Bay; others in Calgary, Guelph, Ont., and Halifax are in various stages of development.

And not surprisingly, given their appeal to jet setters, co-working sites are establishing global connections. The Hub, which is scheduled to open this fall in Halifax, will be linked to 13 sites worldwide including space in London, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo. Members of one site will get privileges at the other spaces.

You can check out The Hub Halifax here (and their excellent links page here). Being connected to other sites around the world would be good for travellers, but I think WorkSpace and The Hub probably have very different clientele for the most part.

Apparently WorkSpace and Citizen Space are trying to form a similar network. I think that makes sense. As more and more similar spaces crop up, those connections will become really valuable.

I’m curious to know what’s going on Calgary – anyone have any information?

Who knows if or when something will get going here in Edmonton, but at least we know there are existing resources and people to tap into for help.