Reimagine Magazine | Issue 6

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THE RETROFIT ECONOMY Deep retrofits key to Canada’s low-carbon future

Retrofit Remand A former remand centre may receive a new lease on life


The impact of retrofit in mitigating climate change


Architecture Award by

Manasc Isaac's Blue Sky Award empowers Albertan not-for-profits to achieve their dream projects: renovations, retrofits, playgrounds, and reimagine studies. If your organization needs to reconceptualize your space, please contact: Kent McKay at Manasc Isaac @ManascIsaac manascisaac

An Urban Playground

A recent Blue Sky Award beneficiary, MacKay Avenue Archives and Museum at the historic MacKay Avenue School, and the Edmonton Police Service are currently fundraising to create a new playground in downtown Edmonton.






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EDITORIAL STAFF editor-in-chief

Vivian Manasc managing editor

Kent McKay

design consultant

Carey van der Zalm lead designer

Daria Nordell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gloria Alamrew, Chris Bateman, Andrew Guilbert, Cheryl Mahaffy, Jyllian Park, Akua Schatz, Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, Vedran Skopac, Gerry Turcotte, Nikki Wiart, Shelley Williamson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS Tom Arban, Veronique Arseneau, Andrea Bartoluccio, Sergei Belski, Christopher Bradley Photography, Cooper & O’Hara, Phil Crozier, Graeme Haunholter, Jeff Hilbrecht, Chris Hill, hyers + mebane, Rachel Killoh, Sascha Kletzsch, Terry Lawson, Brian McBurney, Sam Noonan, Merethe S. Odland, Jordan Polanski, Michael H. Reichmann, Vedran Skopac

Reimagin is a publication produced by architectural, engineering and design firm Manasc Isaac, a Canadian leader in integrated sustainable building with deep expertise in reimagined existing buildings, primarily those built between 1950 and 2000. Reimagine magazine showcases the best of reimagined spaces and promotes sustainable building practices in the community, and strives to be the authoritative business voice on the value of reimagined building practices.

by Manasc Isaac

HEALTHY. SUSTAINABLE. INTERIORS. calgary 403.460.4177 edmonton 780.429.3977

Contents Š 2018 by Manasc Isaac. No part of this publication should be reproduced in print or on websites without written permission. Non-deliverable mail should be directed to: 10225 100 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0A1

This publication is printed on FSC certified paper from a responsibly managed forest.


Climate Change


The impact of reimagined buildings on our carbon footprint

reimagined WSP Place on the corner of Jasper

For instance, WSP Place, a 1970s concrete-clad tower in

and 109 street in Edmonton has opened to

downtown Edmonton, originally had windows with a thermal

rave reviews. Successfully enlivening the

resistance value of about R1, and opaque walls with about R8,

urban environment, the dynamic new facade

on average. Since its reimagine, there is more glazing [and,

attracts attention on social media and in conversations

consequently, more daylight], with windows that boast an

across the city. Many can’t recall the ugly duckling that

average value of R5 and greatly enhanced opaque walls with

remains underneath the reimagined building. But what

an average value of R25.

has this got to do with climate change? Overall, we have cut heat loss and energy use by over 50% by Climate change is a topic on many lips – and yet

upgrading the building envelope alone! In addition, lighting

understanding how the design decisions we make

changes (from T8 to LED lamps throughout the building)

impact climate change is sometimes elusive. When it

resulted in even further carbon emission savings, allowing

comes to buildings, there are two major areas where

for the addition of dynamic exterior LED lighting.

carbon comes into play – one is in the embodied energy of building materials, where buildings can be seen as

The third aspect of climate change that affects buildings is

“carbon sinks,” and the second is in operational energy,

in the mitigation of climate change-induced impact, such as

where buildings are “carbon emitters.” In both areas,

extreme heat, cold, floods and storms. This is of significant

existing buildings are among the largest contributors to

interest to insurers, REITs and others who look to miti-

climate change.

gate financial risk. Sometimes we call this “climate change adaptation.” For example, how well do our buildings con-

Let’s look at these in turn. A typical concrete office tower contains about 10,000 tonnes of CO2, embodied in the

tinue to operate in the face of power failures or loss of water pressure? We’ll talk more about such “everything old is new

cement, reinforcing steel, gravel and water used to make

again” strategies, as well as “passive house” strategies, such

concrete; this CO2 is “locked in.” When this building is

as operable windows, to allow buildings to operate without

demolished, at least part of its CO2 is released back into

mechanical cooling, in our next issue. Stay tuned!

the atmosphere. Many cities have concrete recycling facilities, a good idea by all accounts, to crush concrete and use that crushed material as aggregate, which can then be used to make more concrete. In Edmonton, for instance, there is a long-standing recycling facility that can accept

Vivian Manasc

concrete. While this is an economically attractive strategy,

Editor-In-Chief |

Better than recycling concrete would be not to tear down existing buildings in the first place, and to reimagine them instead. By adding insulation to existing buildings, the carbon sink remains in place. This practice also addresses the climate impact of continued building operations and reducing heat loss through the building envelope by enhancing the insulation of walls, windows


from a climate change perspective, it is less than ideal.

and roofs.


Illuminating Blight Tough times befell the Capital Region in upstate New York, as the area’s manufacturing plants closed in the latter half of the 20th Century. As a result of shrinking populations, cities such as Albany, Schenectady and Troy are full of abandoned buildings, creating blight across the region. To draw attention to blight, and inspire a movement to revitalize the area, architect Barb Nelson and artist Adam Frelin designed an installation called “Breathing Lights,” which illuminated the widows of 300 abandoned buildings with warm LED lights whose glow mimicked the rhythm of human breathing, and suggested that the buildings were inhabited. Events, including walking tours, were conducted in each city, opening discussions about blight, and how these abandoned spaces could be reimagined. As the windows fell dark, the palpable and shared sense of loss served as a call to action.

Breathing Lights was selected in June 2015 reimagine

as one of four temporary public art projects from across the United States to receive a grant award from the first-ever Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. photo: hyers + mebane



Ultra Low-Energy Retrofits White paper influencing public policy

Only in America... In the US, buildings consume roughly 40% of all energy used in the country, making it clear that improving building efficiency is critical to reducing overall energy use and energy-related pollution emissions. More than half of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 are already built and in use today, making ultra-low energy retrofits increasingly essential in our built environment! A 2017 white paper by Jennifer Thorne Amann, published by the American Council for an EnergyEfficient Economy (ACEEE), states that an estimated 2 billion ft² of commercial floor space in the US - approximately 2.2% of the total - is retrofitted each year. This represents progress, but at a rate insufficient to meet the energy savings goals adopted by states and cities, as well as energy use reductions necessary to support national goals for 2050 greenhouse gas emissions. The white paper, which is available online, urges policy makers and building owners alike, to set more ambitious requirements for renovations to existing buildings to achieve significant energy use reduction targets.

Meanwhile in Canada... Canada is striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, too! In 2005, large buildings in Canada were responsible for an estimated 41.8 megatons (MT) of annual greenhouse gas emissions. The country aims to reduce this number by 30%, which will require 12.5 MT in emissions reductions. This may be achieved by tackling the following measures:

Recommission buildings that have yet to achieve high performance status by optimizing existing building systems for improved control and operational performance Undertake deep retrofits in buildings to high-perenergy reduction and ensuring that key building systems, such as lighting, HVAC and envelopes, are upgraded Incorporate solar or other on-site renewable energy systems in buildings, and work with jurisdictions and the private sector to switch to low-carbon fuel

For further reading go to


formance standards, such as LEED by focusing on

sources in buildings


CRISIS IN CALGARY Calgary faces a steep challenge to reimagine its built environment

Historically high vacancy rates have developers considering creative ways to reimagine existing towers. by andrew guilbert


he Calgary skyline in 2014 was a

Though it has sold three office buildings

testament to the optimism that comes

since 2014, Artis still has nearly 850,000

from bumper year after bumper year,

square feet across six downtown office

filled with cranes piecing together office

buildings. With so much real estate, the

towers, the sounds of construction work

company’s solution to the glut of office

on the ground evidencing the energy of

space was to change up its game plan

the city, in every sense of the word. Then

by converting some of its office space to

the price of oil came tumbling down,

residential space.

taking with it the heady days of seemingly endless expansion.

The first building to undergo this transformation is Sierra Place, a 92,000 ft², Class

By the end of the fourth quarter of that

C, 10-storey office building. Built in 1958,

year, a bustling downtown was drained

in the downtown west core office district,

of its vibrancy. The office vacancy rate

Wong says the building’s positioning in

nearly doubled from 9.8 at the end of 2014

the market, coupled with current market

to 17.6 a year later. Today, that number

conditions and the expected long wait

stands around 27 per cent according to

time before its recovery, meant that

CBRE, the highest it’s been in decades.

multi-family was the best use for the

By comparison, the national average

property. “Office vacancy in downtown

hovers around 11 per cent, with hot spots

Calgary is hovering around 25 per cent,

like Toronto and Vancouver enjoying four

and B class office vacancy is above 30 per

and five per cent vacancy rates, respec-

cent,” says Wong. “Absorption of office

tively. Faced with nearly 1.1 million square

space is projected to be very modest in

metres of empty downtown office space,

the forthcoming year, so we determined

what’s a city to do?

that greater cash flows can be obtained through a conversion to multi-family.”

For Artis REIT, the 2014 downturn forced them to recognize that the market had

To go from office space to home space

shifted in an important way, and that they

posed a number of challenges, as

would have to be creative in attracting

the former obviously was meant to

and retaining tenants. “We had to contin-

accommodate a different category of

ually adjust our price point and expecta-

tenant than the latter.

tions to be competitive in the market,” “The building has been designed for office

Vice President of Asset Management in

use, so the challenge was reworking the

Western Canada. “We increased tenant

plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems

incentives, as well as broker incentives.

in order to find the best way to have

We have undertaken a number of capital

independently controlled units for maxi-

refurbishments of common lobbies,

mum comfort and flexibility,” says Wong.

elevators and washrooms to facilitate

“The floorplate at Sierra actually converts

our competitiveness. We have added and

to residential quite well, but it is not as

modernized the amenities in our build-

optimal as a purpose built, multi-family

ings that tenants have come to expect.”

building. Obtaining the needed floorplate efficiency to make the project economical

Sierra Place photo: veronique arseneau

took creativity.”


says Dennis Wong, Artis REIT Executive


render: aspen properties

re The Edison will feature a variety of unusual amenities designed to appeal to millenials, such as a putting green, and a bar featuring local craft beer.

The suites themselves are inspired by

When faced with the fallout from the

downtown lofts in cities like New York

2014 downturn, Aspen Properties looked

and Chicago, with open ceiling, visible

south to San Francisco and Silicon Valley

“In crisis comes creativity, and that’s a lot of where this stems from for us,” he says. “There are 300 options if you’re a tenant

building systems in historic properties.

to see what creative companies like Apple,

The location on 7 Ave. S.W. brought with

Google and Facebook were doing with

of over 3,000 square feet in downtown Calgary, so we’re trying to find a way to

it nearby urban living amenities, like

their workspaces. Aspen hit upon the

stand out and that’s what we did here.” In deciding on which amenities to

restaurants, coffee shops and bars, as well

idea of introducing a grab bag of unusual

as public transit, bike lanes and parks that

amenities to one of their buildings, the

introduce, Blackwell says it was partly

made it ideally suited for the project.

former Encana Place, in order to appeal to

a question of surveying the tenants

The $16 million repurposing, which will

the younger, “techie” crowd. The 440,000

already occupying the building, and partly

convert the building into 100 apartment

square foot building, renamed The Edison,

asking themselves what they would want

suites, began this past fall and is expected

now sports features like a book and board

themselves. This was more than mere

to be complete by the end of 2018. It

game lounge, a putting green, a bar with

hypotheticals for Aspen’s team, as they

will be the first conversion of its kind

local craft beer on tap for tenant exclusive

in Calgary’s downtown. Artis REIT has

events, a 7,000 ft² fitness facility, a 2,500

happen to occupy The Edison as well. “How do we pick [amenities]? We be self-

identified other potential office asset

ft² dog park, basketball area for pickup

ish and say, ‘what do I want? What does

conversion opportunities, but says that

games and more. Rob Blackwell, Senior

the guy next to me want? What does the

these are all still in preliminary stages.

Vice President of investments and asset

guy down the hall from me want? We’re

management with Aspen properties,

all looking to have some fun, so what’s

Another reimagining of office space that

believes that such innovative measures

your version of fun?”

is making waves is from Aspen Properties,

are the key to staying competitive in an

which owns 1.8 million ft² of office space

overcrowded market like Calgary’s.

While millennial was admittedly the

in downtown Calgary (as well as 900,000

demographic they were targeting, they’ve

ft² in Edmonton).

found that “fun” sells, no matter who’s interested in buying. Blackwell says that

2014 2015

they’ve had traditional law and accounting


firms come through their building and





express interest in what they’re doing

Office Vacancy Rates Downtown Calgary

as a potential draw for the best of a new


generation of talent. “Every company today wants to hire the best 25 year old, ourselves included, and the best 25 year old wants a fun place,” says Blackwell.

re The Edison.

were all over the map. “We heard a lot about the arts, which is why my group kept going in the direction it did, but there was a lot of people looking for something, new, different, something to break up the corporate sense of downtown Calgary,” she says. “Kind of escape areas, like areas for yoga, meditation, mindfulness, to give them a way of stepping away from what they’re seeing right now.”

render: aspen properties

book/board game lounge

tenant lounge

basketball area

golf simulator

7000 ft². fitness facility

dog park

“We thought it was tailored towards tech and it’s totally not, it’s tailored towards people who want to hire the best people.”

inter-institutional collaboration between six post secondary institutions and

Another group that took part in the

Calgary Economic Development, brought

Vivacity project was Forge Collaborative

together a group of some 30 students

Brewing, a co-op brewing space where

from different disciplines and institutions

small brewers could come and create their

for a 24-hour challenge, the goal of which

own beers alongside other beer makers.

was to propose new solutions for how to

Their idea, which won the competition,

use Calgary’s empty office space. Student

came from a personal problem for one

groups, split into smaller groups of five

of the members, says Brandon Diprose,

or so, each proposed an idea, the four

a student from the group. “One of our

most interesting of which were given the

group members’ boyfriend brewed his

opportunity to continue developing them

own beer. She loved the beer but com-

during the winter semester. A final

plained that it was space consuming, they

showcase, occurring in April, allowed

had a tiny apartment and his brewing

the four final teams to create a prototype

equipment took up half of it, and it

of their idea in empty office space.

smelled bad, ” says Diprose. “We couldn’t open another brewery, there were 125

“In crisis comes creativity,  and that’s a lot of where this stems from for us.”

When all is said and done, the repositioning of the Aspen Edison asset will be

already, and another 30 opening up in the next year, so we needed something to differentiate ourselves and it turned into a co-op space where we could have individual people or teams brewing their

One of those teams was ‘The Roost’, a

own beers, whenever they like.”

substantial; but, says Blackwell, their new

membership-based studio space for

direction has already paid dividends, as

artists that would also feature workshops

Ultimately, for Diprose, the best advice

Silicon Valley tech company Rocketspace

and gallery space. Courtney Clarkson, a

for creating a winning office space

will be opening its first Canadian office

communications student who was part of

redesign is considering the target demo-

in the Edison’s fourth through seventh

The Roost, says that in the research they

graphic. “If you’re trying to attract young

floors in 2018. While property owners

conducted, when asking Calgarians

people, you want experiences. People

and managers have obviously taken an

what they thought of the city and what

don’t just want products, they want to do

interest in how to repurpose the city’s

they wanted to see more of downtown,

something, an experience, so they can go

vacant office space, they’re not the only

they found that, though the arts were a

home and say, ‘that was awesome, let’s

ones. In November of 2016, Vivacity, an

recurring theme, people’s inclinations

totally do this again!’


The Edison Amenities

“People don’t just want products, they want to do something, an experience, so they can go home and say, ‘that was awesome, let’s totally do this again!’”


RETROFIT FOR QUEEN’S Queen’s University Belfast reimagines its former Library Tower as a prestigious new home for the School of Law by nikki wiart | photography: chris hill

s far as demolition videos go, the

facade – a look that clashed horribly with

one of Queen’s University’s Library Tower

McGeagh’s original tower: modern, yet

as they come. There’s no wrecking ball,

designed with the rest of the university’s

in Belfast, Ireland is as anti-climatic

no cloud of dust, no crash of steel on steel

and concrete on concrete, just a slow,

piece-by-piece removal of the top three

floors of the once eleven storey tower – all

set to a rainy and cloudy Irish backdrop.

Oversized and underutilized, the former

Library Tower stood out – and not in a

good way – next to the rest of the build-

box-ish and boring, and definitely not buildings in mind.

“We have been able to take a multi-storey structure, that sat so incongruously in

one of the country’s most historic set-

tings, and through careful design,

successfully integrated it with its two

and three storey Victorian neighbours,”

Minnis told Reimagine. In the case study,

ings at the Queen’s campus. In 2014, the

Minnis writes that the materials chosen

country’s environment minister to rede-

necessary to fit in with the Tudor and

and student cafe, with the remodel design

the campus.

firm established in 1976, and considered

Jacqueline Kearns, Estate Manager at

practices. The entire project is part of a

for refurbishing the original building,

university was given the go-ahead by the

velop the tower into a new School of Law

led by TODD Architects – a Belfast-based by Architects Journal in the top 100 UK

provide the “academic pomp and gravitas” Gothic Revival architecture throughout

Queen’s, says one of the main reasons

decade-long, £350-million (or $592

rather than tearing it down, was environ-

the university – the refurbishment itself

a more carbon-friendly option to retain

cost £20 million ($34 million CAD).

the existing structure,” she says. Queen’s

The original building, designed by the

learning institute, founded in 1845,

million CAD) investment in upgrading

university’s then architect John McGeagh

mental. “It was agreed that it would be

University is the UK’s ninth oldest

so as a “custodian” of the important

and built in 1968, was initially constructed

heritage built at this historic campus,

second building to complete the library –

to preserve it for future generations.”

as a library stack, with plans to add a

something never even started due to lack of funds. McGeagh was commissioned

to design the Main Library Tower in 1962,

after winning several awards for his suburban housing and church hall designs in

Belfast. Unfortunately, writes the retrofit’s

lead architect Peter Minnis, the original

building was not McGeagh’s “finest hour”

Kearns says she has a “responsibility

“The university is reducing its carbon footprint while growing the estate, so the challenge was to ensure the building was naturally ventilated.” Part of the low-energy design was focusing on passive solutions, such as natural

in a case study on the project.

lighting and better ventilation. The

The building “appeared to photo-bomb

floors, however, were left, so as to aid

Building,” Minnis writes. Designed by

absorbed by the building from people,

revered architects) in 1849, the Lanyon

lighting and highly insulated facades

the stately frontage of the Lanyon

coffered concrete ceilings on the upper in cooling at night and release the heat

Sir Charles Lanyon (one of Belfast’s most

lighting, and equipment. Energy efficient

Building sits as the heart of the Queen’s

were also incorporated into the design.

campus, famous for its Gothic Revival




re The open, public lower floors of the former Library Tower have become a popular social hub for Queen’s University students.

re The restored historic kiln building at Evergreen Brick Works will be a showcase for green design and gathering place for interactive workshops, community programs and events that focus on working collaboratively to create flourishing cities of the future. Photo credit: LGA Architectural Partners

The building was designed to meet an

“The building has become an exemplar in the UK as to how ambitious low-energy

began in 2014, and by September 2016,

Research Establishment Environmental

design and sustainability targets can be

the university had full occupation. The

Assessment Method (BREEAM) – a third-party certification that looks

addressed in retrofit projects,” Minnis says. However, Kearns says the university

at adaptation to climate change, low

was also sensitive to the amount of space

impact design, carbon emissions

available for a new building. “The

reduction, biodiversity protection,

university was keen to keep as much floor

and ecological value. Upon completion,

area as possible and so the decision was

the building secured the equivalent of a

taken to refurbish the existing tower.”

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Gold” rating.

Since 2009, after the new McClay Library


opened its doors, the Library Tower stood


Demolition of selected parts of the tower

excellence rating with the Building

“We have been able to take a multi-storey structure, that sat so incongruously in one of the country’s most historic settings, and through careful design, successfully integrated it with its two and three storey Victorian neighbours.”

empty and unused. The refurbished tower is now home to the prestigious School of Law – ranked fourth in the UK for its research impact – incorporating a new three-storey concourse to the Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC). As part of the project, teaching spaces within the PFC were refurbished and modernized, and entrances to the nearby Quadrangle were reworked so as to make it more enclosed and give it a collegial feel.

project, which TODD Architects says “was undoubtedly our most challenging commission completed in 2016, and perhaps the most difficult in the practice’s history,” was undeniably worth it for the firm. Since completing the retrofit in 2016, the firm has won several awards, including the UK Refurbishment Project of the Year at the Brick Development Awards, Education Project of the Year at the Irish Construction Industry Awards, Retrofitting/Renovation Project of the Year at the Irish Building and Design Awards, Educational Building of the Year at the Building and Architect of the Year Awards, and more.

re The School of Law no longer photo-bombs integrated with its stately Victorian neighbour, the Lanyon Building.

Though the tower’s structural frame was

retained, as well as the stair and elevator

cores, the interior feel and exterior facade have both been completely transformed.

According to the architects working on the project, one of the difficulties in

working with the old building was that

the distance between floors was only

2.7 metres. To counter this, the designers introduced a series of atria, with none

exceeding three storeys, opening up the

interior and allowing for better ventilation

and more natural light. Floor-to-floor

height is normally three metres, so another

issue that arose out of the confined distance was how to incorporate 21st Century

technology without losing more height.

“The university is reducing its carbon footprint while growing the estate, so the challenge was to ensure the building was naturally ventilated.” The lower floors of the stack were designed to be open and public, containing a cafe,

a social hub for students (which Minnis

says has become incredibly popular for

both students and staff), classrooms and

lecture theatres, with the upper floors

hosting more private rooms – spaces for

the School of Law staff and students.

The reimagined space is “open” and

the interior colour palette of grey and white, with accents of white oak and brick, contribute to that feeling.

re The former Library Tower Archival Photo


“welcoming,” says Kearns, adding that


re The choice to apply red clay brick creates continuity between the School of Law and the rest of the campus.

Externally, the tower has been refaced

with red clay brick, glazed screens, and bronzed anodised panels, placed in a

way that mimics the Victorian detailing

on neighbouring buildings, while still

giving the tower a much-needed facelift.

A judge with the Brick Development

Awards praised the project for its success in turning the original building into one

that was sustainable and modern, while

still keeping it consistent in its historic

setting, “with the chosen brick playing a major part in this integration.”

No longer photo-bombing the historic

campus, the new School of Law building

adds its own architectural interest, while remaining cohesive to the rest of the

university grounds. On top of being cost

effective and more environmentally

conscious, the decision to reimagine the

space rather than tear it down was also

re The space’s colour palette of grey and white complement the


presence of brick and white oak in the building, creating an


open and welcoming environment.

one made out of a desire to maintain,

and celebrate, history. “Queen’s is a

welcoming place of learning,” Kearns

says, “open to all which is committed to

preserving the heritage of the past while

developing a campus fit for the future.”

higher ground

Work or Play Residential conversions are often the path less taken photo: cooper & o’hara

It is said that there is more than one way to skin a cat. As it turns out, there is also more than one way to re-skin a building. When a tower ages, it can be retrofitted for a new commercial purpose – but there is another option: it can be transformed into residential space. How does one decide which path to take?

Since mechanical and electrical upgrades are going to have to be done in order to bring the building up to code, the question is, if there’s enough demand for condos in the area, why not upgrade the building to residential? Through analysis, you can determine if it makes sense financially.

Rita Melo is a partner at Manasc Isaac, and has years of experience managing innovative retrofit projects. Reimagine sat down with Rita and asked her to tell us how the decision of commercial vs. residential retrofits is made.

One aspect of converting office buildings into housing is the need for more plumbing. Each residential unit needs its own kitchen and washrooms, resulting in new piping and impact on the floors below. This makes it difficult to proceed if some of the floors are still occupied. This in turn requires a vacant building - a building that is not generating any revenue. In contrast, an office building can be reimagined while it’s occupied, with on-going cash flow.

Class A and B spaces can be reimagined as commercial spaces, but they are actually often good candidates for residential developments, too. They usually have good bones: a solid structure, and good floorto-ceiling heights. Of course, you have to assess the depth of the floor plate, to make sure that residential units can be accommodated - depending on the shape of the plate, deep units might require unique design strategies.

office space


If there’s enough demand for condos in the area, why not upgrade the building to residential? Edmonton is an interesting case study. Municipal leaders want to revitalize the downtown core, which means we have to increase the residential population downtown to support the office, business and retail spaces we are trying to sustain. So there’s an opportunity to create more mixed-use conversions, where you have retail on the main/second floor, then a few floors of office space, and then finally the remainder of the building as residential on top. It’s a healthy, sustainable mix.



Both downtown Edmonton and downtown Calgary are facing the same issue right now: excess office space in these central areas.


What a residential retrofit at 10909 Jasper Avenue (now WSP Place) might have looked like. render: manasc isaac

Hotels are another interesting opportunity to explore. There are a few hotels looking for new locations in Edmonton, and repurposing existing buildings is an interesting option for them. It’s standard practice to work with a client to create a pro forma, to help map out what the anticipated profits could be, for both residential and commercial scenarios. The overall project profit depends on current industry conditions, and lately residential has been shown to be more profitable in these documents over the last couple of years; there’s currently so much office space on the market that it isn’t as profitable of a proposition. But residential projects are doing well, and are expected to do well in the coming years.


There is growth in the areas of retirement housing, and family-oriented housing in downtown and central areas.


For 10909 Jasper Avenue (now WSP Place), we explored converting that building to residential. This exploration happened a few years ago, at a time when there was less office space available in Edmonton. As we did the pro forma, the conversation around residential was emerging, and the numbers for residential looked good. However, our client had already secured a primary commercial tenant, and there were other tenants in the building who still had a decade on their lease, so the transition to residential would have been challenging. If the building had been vacant, a residential conversion might very well have won the day!

The kind of residential units that people desire is evolving, as well. In the past, we noticed a trend towards very small, compact residential units – and that seems to be waning. Now, there is growth in the areas of retirement housing, and family-oriented housing in downtown and central areas. Fortunately, larger units are a good fit for buildings with deeper floor plates, because they easily make good-sized units. Residential projects do require certain options that aren’t required for commercial; for example, a residential envelope upgrade will require operable windows, which likely have to be added. Facilities like solariums might have to be created­— these spaces aren’t required for an office building, but they are desirable to residential occupants. Additionally, for residential, everything (such as heat controls), has to be individual. Radiant panels are the form of heating that tends to work best in these conversions. The demand for residential multi-family developments in the downtown core is expected to hold steady, generally, in Canada. Young professionals have a larger appetite to live, work and play in the same neighbourhood, which brings them to the core of the city. At the same time, a lot of baby boomer couples are leaving their suburban homes for more central locations, to benefit from urban amenities. So you can expect to see more of these reimagine projects in the future!


The Biophilia Hypothesis An old water tower reconnects students with nature by gerry turcotte president, st. mary’s university, calgary


hanks to generous donors, St. Mary’s

University in Calgary was recently able

to complete the restoration of our nearly 100-year-old water tower. Built by the

Sisters of Providence in 1921, the tower has stood over the Midnapore site for

nearly a century, its fortunes waxing and

waning … mostly waning … over time. As a wooden structure built when metal

towers were coming into prominence, the tower has fallen prey to wildlife, inclement weather and the simple reality of

aging. It was stabilized and cleaned, and then, for decades, left to whither away.

photo: sergei belski

and then to fully restore the glorious in-

And so it was with biophilia.

tique art gallery arguably in the country.

experience through phobias — the fear

As we stood inside the renovated space,

our world. Less common is the tendency

sense of peace. It truly felt as though the

positive energies and attractions that we

the walls. As soon as I said this I looked

ural world. And biophilia speaks to this. In

beled as a kook, but instead everyone was

posits an understanding of our human

first. ‘Have you ever heard of the Biophilia

Just as fascinating to me is the concept of

theory that human beings need to be con-

Here the argument is that human beings

demics, I immediately began to research

developments that incorporate organic

exciting than someone putting a concept

often referenced as a major component of

transform its imposing 80-foot exterior, terior, creating the most remarkable bou-

We are all familiar with understanding

and aversion we have to myriad forces in

I commented that I felt an extraordinary

of seeing our world through philias — the

cares of the world could not penetrate

might feel, as human beings, for the nat-

around sheepishly, fearful that I’d be la-

its wider sense, of course, the hypothesis

nodding. Our conservation architect spoke

connection with other flora and fauna.

Hypothesis?’ he asked. ‘It’s a well known

biophilia as it connects to conservation.

nected to the natural world.’ Like all aca-

will be more connected to restorations and

the phenomenon. There is nothing more

materials and the natural world — what is

around something long experienced.

sustainable design and green architecture.

Clinical evidence has actually shown that immunological and neuro-endocrine systems actually improve in patients

who are connected, in some way, to the natural world.

Is it a stretch, then, to feel this same

energy in a building whose sole purpose was to supply water to a home for the

aged and orphans, and whose remarkable natural timbers bear the marks of wood-

peckers and mice? Is it crazy to think that

the deep, rich smell of wood that suffuses the towering space is somehow healing and protective? I had imagined many

things for this restoration — but this

sense of peace and welcome, truthfully,

was not one of them. What a remarkable and unexpected gift!


Recently, however, we were able first to



From decommissioned to dazzling An abandoned power plant in Munich is transformed into a flagship furniture store by gloria alamrew | photography: sascha kletzsch


n empty power station sat dormant in the heart of

Munich’s Obersendling-Thalkirchen district. Built in 1962, and decommissioned in 1999, the building had faded out of the city’s collective memory and faced demolition. Yet the old power plant was about to be given new breath, and a future full of colour and excitement at the hands of a forward-thinking owner who had a vision for the former plant: to reimagine the space as a test-bed for furnishing the future.

Architectural firm Stenger2 Architekten und Partner, led by principal Markus Stenger, was tasked with a Herculean challenge rooted in a puzzling question: how do you create value out of a building that a community has either written off, or worse, forgotten entirely? Taking what he describes as an “empirical” approach, Stenger and his team intuitively knew that any previous notions or pressures of a so-called perfect final product had to be done away with. In their minds, the end result had to be a direct outcome of the process; or, as Stenger likes to call it, building by doing. “We really had to start from the first day, not by planning but by doing,” he says. “Meanwhile, you’re constantly planning for the next step. The typical architectural step-by-step rules disappear. You can’t start at Step 1 because the building already exists.” In Ohio, where Stenger studied, industrial buildings ripe for


revitalization were plentiful. But to find one in Munich was a rare


sight. The built landscape in Munich is incredibly dense— there simply is no free space. Most buildings like the power plant have already been torn down or previously transformed. “This type of building was rare,” Stenger remembers. Additionally, the political climate of the time proved to be a challenge. In a dense,

re The former power plant was unloved by its community, which remembered the two devastating explosions that had taken place there in its past life.

re The first six of the building’s twelve storeys are occupied by KARE, a furniture manufacturer. The space is more playground than store, and a feast for the senses, featuring photographic exhibitions, restaurants,


terraces and kids corners.


urban community with little available space, living spaces were in

being developed as another option. For better or worse, nuclear

high demand and short supply; commercial projects of this scale

came out as the victor— and buildings built on the specula-

were seen as unnecessary. “There were a group of people in high

tion that gas would prevail, failed. Soon, gas-powered stations

political positions that wanted to tear it down. We had to develop

became obsolete. Making matters worse, two devastating

value for this building. And quickly.”

explosions at the power plant took place — one even before its

The case for reimagining the power plant as a flagship for KARE

ruin, and out of the good graces of local residents. The building

opening — and the building’s demise was cemented. It fell into needed a story. Indeed, it already had one, and a compelling

became a monument to failure, and a tenuously tolerated fixture

one – but the problem was that no one knew it. The public had

in the landscape.

never really had a chance to interact with the building. Since its decommissioning, people assumed it was either condemned or abandoned. But the structure’s history needed to be told - the

The building’s next chapter could only begin by retracing its past.

building’s next chapter could only begin by retracing its past.


Much like the lifespan of gas-powered energy the power plant


The power station’s design was groundbreaking for its time –

used to provide, any plans to transform the building were stopped

it was a gas-fueled combined heat and power plant. Built to prove

short in its tracks. Stadtwerke München (Munich public utilities)

that it could efficiently provide both heat and energy to the

had deemed the building unnecessary to repair, especially since

district by using gas, a novel concept at the time, it faced an

it required costly fixes like asbestos removal. It was generally

immediate competitor: nuclear energy. Simultaneous to the

viewed as either needing to be demolished or simply left alone to

emergence of gas as a viable energy source, nuclear energy was

decay as an urban ruin.

re The former power station is no longer an eyesore, but an integral icon for the neighbourhood.

re Once all of the former power plant’s massive apparatus was removed, the building’s sense of place had to be completely reconceptualized.

The design team knew that they had to create a design that felt intuitive for future tenants and visitors to the space. They believed that a building that had been forgotten for so long deserved a design that was purposeful and deliberate in its intentions. “We had to create additional stairs, floor space,

When the power station was finally sold to a private investor in

the entire infrastructure,” Stenger notes. “By doing this, we

2010, the client approached Stenger and his design team with a

wrote a drama or a storyline throughout the building. You’re

vision for the building that could only be described as “returning

free to leave the path, but it’s meant to guide your experience

the favour.” They wanted to breathe life into a building that once

in and through the space.”

energized the very district which had forgotten it. Although the 1962 building had no protected building status, it

They wanted to breathe life into a building that once energized the very district which had forgotten it. Stenger and his team imbued respect for the building’s history

memory,” Stenger remembers, “the structure is truly great engi-

throughout their design. An old cargo crane, cables, and insu-

neering. The first time I saw it, I was thrilled. In Munich, there

lators were kept, a subtle nod to the era the building came from.

really are almost none of these types of structures left anymore.”

Furthermore, Stenger and his team used the architecture’s history to create a new, forward-facing story for the building. An

To help build a storyscape around and through the building,

expansive ceiling cutout, originally used for a heat exchanger, is

Stenger and his team decided that the best way to craft the design

now a glass panoramic lift, lifting visitors up and into its history:

was to let the space guide them. “It’s more of a machine, rather than a building. The generators, the heat exchange apparatus,

“It really is a sublime space now. By losing the machine value,

all had to be removed to create floor space. We realized that what

and gaining experiential value, you can create an entirely new

was left was a carcass, a shell of something that wasn’t there

experience of history within the original fabric of the building.”

anymore. How do you transform this into a building?”


was seen as an unofficial landmark— albeit, a less than positive one. “We saw it as something that should remain as a living


re By preserving historical elements that speak to the building’s history, the

And Stenger’s favourite part of the reimagined building? They can be found at its highest points: the roof and the 80-meter high

design is purposeful and deliberate in its intention.

chimneys. “We cut holes into them so that guests could enter and look outwards through them. And the lower roof was used as a terrace for the restaurant, offering views spanning the Alps in the distance. It was important to us to create access points to


all these previously hidden parts of the building.”


“We wrote a drama or a storyline throughout the building. You’re free to leave the path, but it’s meant to guide your experience in and through the space.”

Kraftwerk’s primary tenant is KARE, a furniture manufacturer

The name Kraftwerk is a befitting one for a building like this;

who occupies the first six of the building’s twelve storeys. Using

a clever portmanteau of the German words for power (Kraft)

the way the space is operated as an open-ended experiment,

and work and achievement (Werk). The building has become a

KARE offers the public a source of innovative design ideas,

testament to the possibility of life after death. Originally brought

and an immersive experience in the reimagined environment.

down by extenuating factors, a victim of circumstance and bad

Photographic exhibitions, restaurants, beautiful outdoor terraces

timing, Kraftwerk’s reimagining at the hands of Stenger and

and kids corners are available to the public to use, rendering the

his team, allowed the building to craft its own triumphant

former power plant useful to its community at long last.

reemergence back into the landscape and heart of Munich.

ask an expert

Sound Advice Why acoustic design should be at the forefront of a designer’s mind

Reimagine sat down with Lindsay Gurevitch, Partner and Interior Designer at Manasc Isaac, to talk about designing for, and around, sound.

photo: phil crozier

What is acoustic design, and why is it important when reimagining interiors? Acoustics are the qualities of a space that determine how sound is experienced in it. Acoustic design is the practice of including this as a key consideration when designing the spaces, the placement of spaces, and the materials we select in and between spaces. In designing indoor environments for people (places where people live, work and play), my job is to analyze interior spaces to better understand how and why they work, but also, why some don’t work. Acoustic design is sometimes overlooked in existing building retrofits, but it has the power to kill a space if not done properly. It’s likely that everyone has spent time in a busy restaurant where it was so loud with banging, clanging of dropped cutlery, and yelling voices that their enjoyment of the room plummeted. A fun night out in a place with poor acoustics can become frustrating; even the food doesn’t taste as good!

Acoustic design (such as these panels from BuzziSpace) should integrate seamlessly into the design of a space. photo: andrea bartoluccio

When it comes to office design, the acoustic design of a work environment can make or break a space. I think this is a huge reason as to why open concept offices have received a bad rap over the past few years. People say, “the office is way too loud, I can hear everything the next person says on her calls!” or “it’s so quiet, I can’t concentrate. I don’t feel comfortable enough to have a conversation with anyone!” Yet open concept office environments can be effective, especially when the space incorporates Activity Based Working strategies, uniquely tailored to that company’s needs. Activity Based Working is a design approach based on the “3 Cs” of a varied soundspace: Concentration, Collaboration, and Chatter spaces. These might include open and closed office spaces, lounge and relaxation areas, and meeting spaces of varying sizes. Each of these spaces is designed to have its own acoustic quality.

A renovated executive boardroom at Servus Credit Union Headquarters posed several acoustic design challenges. photo: jeff hilbrecht


Uphostered finishes (on the wall, and in furniture selection) help to absorb sound. photo: christopher bradley photography

Concentration spaces are zoned as quiet areas (where people are expected to use lower speaking levels, there is no photocopier noise, vibration-only telephone settings, and so on). These are developed to suit the needs of team members who require quiet to concentrate and focus on work tasks. In order to make spaces work as concentration spaces, we separate them from adjacent areas with well-sealed partitions, sound-absorptive ceilings, doors that seal well and surfaces that absorb sound. The opposite is true for Collaboration spaces: these areas are designed to be livelier, to reflect sound in the hope that it will also help people transmit ideas. Collaboration spaces have more sound reflective surfaces.


And then there are Chatter spaces. These spaces are acoustically designed to allow casual conversations to be separated from concentration spaces. Now, it’s not enough just to create these spaces – you have to place them properly within the building. When we design a space, these louder chatter spaces are located away from concentration zones, to reduce noise “contamination.”


There’s no one-size-fits-all way to work; some people thrive in louder areas and say that it helps them concentrate. That’s why it’s important to offer a variety of environments to your team, so that each person can do their best work!

Is the approach for each space’s acoustic design unique? Are there any emerging trends that influence today’s acoustic design? Acoustics and sound management in interior environments need to support the goals of that particular space. In a lawyer’s office, for example, sound privacy is key to the success of the office. But in a restaurant environment, tighter sound management will decrease the “excitement level” of the space and tone down the atmosphere from more raucous, to subdued and controlled. Unfortunately, as the latest design trends have shifted toward open environments and hard, reflective, minimalist finishes, consideration for how the acoustic design of that space (or lack thereof) is often left out of the equation. It’s a missing component for a lot of today’s spaces.

What are the challenges in incorporating acoustic design into existing spaces, as opposed to new buildings? I think the most challenging part of weaving acoustic design into an existing space would be finding design solutions that enable a really seamless integration into the environment, so that absorptive materials don’t look like an afterthought. If a space has been designed and built without sound planning in mind, the budget to accommodate acoustic considerations can also be a challenge.

ask an expert

What is a recent success story where you reimagined an existing space and bettered the sound environment? My team and I recently completed a renovation to the Servus Credit Union Headquarters in Edmonton’s Research Park. We had previously completed the original interior design renovation to that building in 2006, which created a combination of open and closed offices, meeting rooms, and lots of lounge spaces. With a new executive team on board, a renovation to the executive boardroom began, and one of the top priorities was to include a high-tech table, glazed walls on three sides of the room, and an exposed concrete ceiling (which necessitated the removal of acoustic ceiling treatments). This was a challenging request, largely because the space needed to remain acoustically private to preserve confidentiality. Glass walls and concrete ceilings are reflective, making rooms acoustically lively!

So, we had to use our acoustic design expertise and create solutions. Since glass is not a sound absorbent material (it actually “reflects” sound back, and allows it to pass through), we specified a sealed glass unit between the meeting room and the adjacent corridor. The air gap separation between the two panels of glass buffers sound transmission, and minimizes the sound you can hear outside of the space.

An air gap separation between the two glass panels surrounding Servus’ executive boardroom, in addition to acoustic ceiling treatments, ensures confidential conversations aren’t overheard. photo: jeff hilbrecht

The design team identified surfaces within the room that were likely to reflect sound, such as the boardroom table surface, drywall, the concrete ceiling, and the glass walls. Since the floor was already carpeted, we knew this would somewhat dampen the sound level of the room – this was a help. From there, we looked to the ceiling and found opportunities not only for acoustic absorption, but also to add to the visual appeal and aesthetic of the room, We chose to integrate a ceiling-track mounted acoustic treatment, made from a ½”-thick PET (recycled pop bottles) material. We were able to work with the product supplier to calculate the distance between each vertically hung panel, to balance the sound absorption benefits with product and construction cost. There’s another form of sound management in the space that you may not even notice: we chose to approach the consideration of furniture as an opportunity to absorb sound. Since the project scope included furniture, we were able to specify upholstered furniture that absorbs sound in the room, while sticking to the overall project budget and preserving the aesthetic, functional, and acoustic design of the new space.

Yes! Good acoustic design is the kind that doesn’t need to be seen, but is seamlessly there. Good acoustic design considers the use of every possible surface, including walls, ceilings, soft seating and furnishings, accent products, disguising absorbent materials behind artwork, and even on the underside of a table surface in an effort to balance sound reverberation and sound attenuation. Acoustic wall tiles can suit both form and function.

But don’t overdo it. If too many of these strategies and products are

photo: buzzispace

applied, you risk deadening sound entirely; in those spaces where acoustic design has gone wild, silence can be deafeningly loud!


So, good acoustic design is often unseen, but rather heard?


PRIMARY COLOURS A 21st Century Primary School Wins WAN’s Colour Award

by cheryl mahaffy | photography: merethe s. odland | floorplan: fortunen arkitektur

re Even in the midst of Norway’s dark mid-winter, colour enlivens learning for students and staff at Bønsmoen Primary School, a reimagined success story in the


community of Eidsvoll.


re The primary school frames the everyday life of 293 youngsters between 6 and 12 years of age, through seven years of their lives. The aim was to give them a school they could be proud of and identify with.


esigned by Fortunen Arkitektur,

a 20-year-old firm in Bergen, Norway, the school won the 2015 WAN Colour in Architecture Award for harnessing colour to dramatically transform a space and enhance its use. “This is what you think of as colour in architecture,” WAN Judge and Hawkins\Brown Partner Morag

Morrison said in announcing the prize.


Noting especially the school’s clever use of colour to invite play and learning, she added, “They have stuck to the concept and executed it well.”

transforming spaces The journey to the award began a decade earlier, when school authorities serving

very inspiring to sort of undress the old school and start with this very strong and strict structure. I think it led us to be more

spine new limbs. Rather than funneling all students through one main entrance, the Grade 1—7 school now has multiple colour-coded entrances, one for each age level. Designed as cylinders that bubble out from the wall, the entrances not only

ing distance of Oslo called for concepts to


replace a 45-year-old secondary school

provide space for outerwear and bathrooms.

Words such as “strong” and “strict”

Windowed vestibules lead into the

with a primary school for 350 students. Invited to participate in that limited competition in 2005, Fortunen AS stood out for its desire to retain the bones of the original building. On the phone from Norway, Fortunen Partner and General Manager Nils reimagine

the competitors would have torn it down and made a new school, but for us it was

Fortunen set about to give that strong

playful in our architecture.”

this town of 18,000-plus within commut-


a part of why we won,” he says.“Three of

Mannsåker recalls the thinking behind that winning submission. “We chose to go honestly and deeply into the possibilities of using the existing structure, and that’s

surface often as Mannsåker describes the original building. Constructed in 1960 as Råholt Secondary School, it sounds strikingly similar to Canadian schools I have known, with one main entrance and classrooms lining both sides of a long corridor. “The former structure was straight and rational, but it had redeeming space qualities,” the architect says. “We thought this gave us the opportunity to use it as a background, and it would support our new concept. We thought of it as a spine.”

break up the school’s straight lines, but

cylinders, each one identified by a unique and carefully chosen colour. Signature colour palettes continue inside. “Each area has its own colour, changing between pink, green, yellow, orange and red,” affirms Halvard Berntsen, the rektor, or principal. “The school is very colourful.”

re Entrances to the different age group areas were decentralised, and clearly readable entrances tie together the indoor and outdoor areas.











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The heightened role assigned to colour is


no accident, Mannsåker says. “We like to





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surroundings. We think it makes your brain and heart work harder; you have



to somehow respond to it in your mind. In this case, we wanted to use colours to identify certain functions in the school.” Each grade level shares a space containing two or three semi-open classrooms, a glass-enclosed room, a small kitchen and a raised area for everything from lounging enclosed than in the original school, yet retain the potential for quiet learning, Mannsåker says. “There has been a tendency towards quite 0 5open spaces, but25 we have always tried to make something in between, with the quality of open concentrated education.”





to performing. The classrooms are less

space but the possibility of having more



regard colour as a sort of language in your


re After unwrapping the school down to its main columns and beams, the team added cylindrical appendages, bright colours and varied windows that bring serendipity and whimsy, movement and joy to the learning environment.

Even so, some staff found the classrooms too open as designed, Berntsen tells me via email from his busy desk. “We some-

The school’s expertise in disability

times wish it would have been possible

education draws students from across

to close classrooms because of ‘too much

the region and is “an important feature,”

space.’ So for the first grade (the smallest

writes Jørgen Andreassen, who chairs

children), we have built walls to shelter

the school’s parent council. In a country

them from noise and disruptions.” The

that recently passed legislation requiring

walls are moveable and can be slid aside

universal access in public buildings, the

for activities needing expansive space.

resulting concentration of students with mobility and other challenges is provid-

“We chose to go honestly and deeply into the possibilities of using the existing structure, and that’s a part of why we won.”

ing useful insights into what works. For example, students with mobility challenges are benefiting from the building’s ramps and generous open spaces, including entrances that give what Mannsåker calls “a sort of soft access to the school.”

Although all evidence of the school’s long corridor is gone, the ability to walk from

Designers are also pleased to report that

one end of the school to the other has

the raised platforms and amphitheatre

not been lost, Mannsåker says. “There

seating, which may appear inaccessible

is a floating possibility for moving along

to wheelchair users, are being used and

the buildings still, from one space to

enjoyed by children of all abilities.

another.” In fact, the design encourages movement with its playful colours and

“Children in wheelchairs are often very

inviting spaces, he adds. “We believe that

good climbers and love getting out of their

movement stimulates learning.”

chairs to play along with the other kids—

multi-purpose Like all primary schools in Norway,

at the same level, so to speak,” observes Interior Designer Jeanette Bu Vindenes. “A lot of the rules made for designing for

Bønsmoen offers before and after school

the disabled do not consider this fact,

care for ages 6 to 9. Sharing an entrance

and it is especially important to consider

with the Grade 1 class, this area includes

when designing for children.”

reading nooks, a kitchen, storage and desk seating, all in a line following the

Equally significant, the school’s contrast-

cylindrical shape of the room.

ing colours are serving as navigational tools for students with disabilities, espe-


The school also houses a health center for


cially those with reduced eyesight. “One

children and pregnant women, located

of our leading motives was to make the

at the end of a wing that also contains a

school easy to orientate in—easy to read,

large gymnasium, administrative offices

somehow,” Mannsåker says. “In that

and an inviting library/media centre. The

matter also, colour had a mission. All the

health centre shares an entrance with a

way, the colours are leading you through

segment of the school dedicated to serv-

the building.” As so often happens, uni-

ing children with multiple disabilities.

versal design is making life better for all.

re Opened in 2012, the 5.400m² school has 14 classrooms spanning Grades 1 through 7, ages 6 to 13. Built for 350 children, it now has 293 students. Each class has its own group of colours. All are from a warm palette and together form a more general landscape.

inside and out Fortunen is known for buildings that

In some areas, the windows allow in too

Other portions of the school’s expansive

invite users to communicate with their

much sunlight at certain times of day,

outdoor spaces have also received an over-

surroundings, and this project is no

causing glare and washing out the colour

due upgrade, including sports fields,

exception. Where the original school had

contrast that students with visual dis-

playgrounds and a common space in

a row of windows marching along the

abilities find so useful. “It’s one part that

the middle.

walls, the reimagined building sports

I think is important, but could have been

expansive windows in varying widths and

done better,” Mannsåker admits. Overall,

broader aim

heights that invite light in, and views

reports Andreassen, who has two daugh-

Bønsmoen’s bold use of colour to trans-

out. “We think it’s important to get the

ters in the school, students appreciate the

form an ordinary school provides a strik-

light to flow [along] both the floor and

abundance of natural light in the school.

ing visual statement in a country whose architecture is dominated by muted tones.

the ceiling,” Mannsåker says. Reflecting a commitment to natural materials and

A large new outdoor amphitheatre allows

energy efficiency that is evident through-

light to flow even below ground, into

colours here,” Mannsåker says. “Nordic

out, the windows have high insulation

music, art and craft classrooms on the

design uses a lot of white and wooden

value and use wood on the interior, with

lowest level. A signature addition that

materials and just lets them be.” Any

aluminum exteriors.

gives identity to the entire school, the

variation in hue comes from light shining

amphitheatre serves as a stage and

on light surfaces, a study in subtlety.

gathering place for both the school and the surrounding community.


As so often happens, universal design is making life better for all.

“It’s not that common to work with


No doubt muted design is inspired by

re Design Team: Nils Johan Mannsåker,

the building user, whom they view as “the

during long, almost black-and-white

artist who is going to play on the instru-

winters. But Fortunen believes those very

ment to make fine music.” Mannsåker

Gro Haveland, Jeanette Bu Vindenes,

circumstances call for extensive use of

puts it this way: “We try to be honest and

Thomas Tofthagen, Herdis Brunborg,

colour—although not necessarily in bold

sincere, and to dig quite deep to find the

Heidi Hauen, Siri L.Sunde, Frode Røynesdal,

hues. Colours can be used subtly, and

solution for each unique situation.”

Eva Korsøen

sometimes should, Mannsåker observes.


“Each situation calls for its own solution.”


team believes, relies on understanding

the Nordic play of light and darkness

Access to user voices is one of the distinct

The choice of bold, yet warm colours for

advantages of reimagining a building,

Bønsmoen school earns praise from users,

Mannsåker believes. “It’s always inter-

including Andreassen’s daughters. “They

esting to have someone to talk to, and if

like that the classes are divided in colors,”

you’re working with an existing situation,

he reports. Rektor Berntsen echoes that

to communicate with about the history. It

sentiment, adding, “After seven years

helps to give a project a strong focus.”

with use, most of us are very happy with

Reusing existing buildings also makes

our school!”

financial sense, in Fortunen’s expe-

imbedded meaning

space to house the same functions within

rience. Even though it may take more

Paying careful heed to occupant voices

predetermined floorplates, Mannsåker

is the norm for this firm, whose part-

notes, a solid skeleton embodies a wealth

ners have worked together as far back as

of existing materials in addition to its

1985. In addition to schools, its expansive

imagination-sparking heritage.“Don’t

portfolio ranges from a tourist stop at the

give up too easily on older buildings,” he

Skjervsfossen Waterfall (winner of the

concludes. “Most existing buildings have

WAN Small Spaces award for 2016) to city

some qualities we can take. So don’t be

developments spanning a half million

too fast to say ‘Tear it down.’”

square metres. Success in each case, the

WORD ON THE STREET Edmonton’s main drag gets a makeover


by jyllian park | images: city of edmonton




re One of the primary goals for the Jasper Avenue reimagine is to ditch the feeling

asper Avenue, the road that cuts a

swath through Edmonton’s downtown core, has historically been little more than a motorway for office workers to commute in and out of the city centre. Even as the city makes a concerted effort to revitalize its downtown as a destination for dining, shopping, nightlife, and tourism, the wide and uninterrupted mass of asphalt, spanning as much as seven lanes of traffic, seems more reminiscent of a freeway than vibrant hub for the increasingly younger

construction in 2019— initially started out as a far more modest endeavor. At a

motorway. Instead, the new vision conceptualizes the Avenue first and foremost as a space for people.

capital budget hearing in 2014, community members and business owners pushed

Project teams with the City’s Urban

city council to make Jasper Avenue a

Planning department formed the 18-per-

more pedestrian friendly and attractive

son Community, Business and Resident

thoroughfare for pedestrians, partly in

Committee, a combination of business

response to the disappointing design

associations, residents, and community

outcomes of revitalization on the east

leagues from Oliver and Downtown. The

and trendier crowd that populates the area.

committee met throughout late 2015 and

the original plan for a simple pavement

2016 to make suggestions about ways to

Acting as a central point for the city’s

refresh of the roadway and sidewalks, the

improve Jasper Avenue’s usability. “The

city began fielding suggestions about how

first exercise we did was the visioning

to improve the appearance and safety

exercise,” says Gadidasu.

its surrounding avenues are given their number and designation— Jasper Ave is presently devoid of much (if any) personality, a deficiency that the city hopes to remedy with its upcoming redesign efforts. Conceived as a pilot project to determine how changes to the road’s construction would impact pedestrian and commuter engagement, Imagine Jasper Avenue and Experience Jasper Avenue are reimagine

town’s avenue of note —slated to begin

that the city’s main street is just a

end of Jasper Avenue. After scrapping

infrastructure —the street after which


The plan for a massive overhaul of down-

initiatives aimed at transforming how Edmontonians utilize and interact with the space.

of one of Edmonton’s most widely used main streets. “In those deliberations, council directed the administration to do a streetscape

“I think like anything, it’s safe to say there were a range of opinions about the pop-up.”

concept plan and ask the public what they would like to see on Jasper Avenue for the next 30 years,” says Satya Gadidasu, the

“We asked what they would like to see Jasper Avenue look like. We heard that

Project Manager for both Imagine Jasper

[residents] wanted to see a lot of trees,

Avenue and Experience Jasper Avenue,

a lot of wide pedestrian areas. They

noting that the proposed changes will

wanted to see street lighting, and they

likely be in place for decades after con-

wanted this idea of a ‘community-built’

struction is completed.

street, not just a major thoroughfare to get into downtown.”

re A ‘community-built’ street is what stakeholders want Jasper Ave to feel like.

Between May to October of 2017, communal seating areas, art installations, and even a bright green ping pong table all City employees and committee members

When the city began looking at how it

imagined a concept featuring extended

could accommodate the larger pedestri-

sidewalks with outdoor furniture and

an space, it became clear that one group

recreation spaces, treed medians, and

was going to have to give something up:

shorter cross-walk distances, a major

motorists. “We took a lot of those details

concern for Oliver community residents.

and tried to come up with a plan, and we

The predominantly residential Oliver

quickly realized that we need to take away

neighbourhood is home to more than

the existing bus lanes, as well as off-peak

20,000 people, making it one of the most

parking,” says Gadidasu.

population-dense neighborhoods in the city. Many who call the area home have

Anyone who has spent even a modest

voiced frustrations over the safety issues

amount of time in Edmonton knows that

that accompany crossing so many lanes

we are a city full of people who love their

of traffic. This is especially of concern to

vehicles. Stripping away two lanes, possi-

families with young children and those

bly slowing down the free-flow of traffic,

with mobility issues.

would undoubtedly be a hard pill to swallow for a number of motorists who utilize Jasper Avenue for their daily commute.

re To accommodate larger pedestrian space, the project took away existing bus lanes and off-peak parking, sparking a somewhat heated dialogue about balancing pedestrian priority with commuter capacity.

Hoping to assuage some of the concerns about the feasibility of a shrunken roadway, and to test-drive some of the proposed changes, the city launched a five-monthlong “pop-up” or full-scale mock-up, that extended pedestrian space into the roadway between 109 and 115 street.

dotted the re-purposed bus lanes along the stretch. “We clearly showcased a design demonstration indicating how wide the sidewalks will be compared to the regular space,” says Gadidasu. “We were told that we should test it out in the summertime to have a clear understanding how it will look and operate and function for users of the avenue.” “I think, like anything, it’s safe to say there were a range of opinions about the pop-up,” says Peter Spearey, General Supervisor of Urban Design for the City of Edmonton. “There were some that were not supportive, but I would say that, personally, a number of people I spoke to were cautiously optimistic that this was a really good move for the city to make.” Spearey and his team helped organize a series of community events throughout the pilot, and encouraged the public to explore what an extended pedestrian footprint on Jasper Avenue would look and feel like.

Traveled Way Ancilliary Zone Furnishing Zone

Frontage Zone Adjacent Lands


Pedestrian Through Zone



A pop-up project was temporarily constructed, to demonstrate for residents how the built project may impact the use, and feel of Jasper Avenue.

“I think the pop-up did a pretty good job of

But it’s not just drivers who have

Spearey is optimistic about the future

reservations about the redesign. Some

of the Jasper Avenue redesign. “The

out of the project will probably be a little

people criticize that the city isn’t doing

environment in which the temporary

different, because the pop-up was done

enough to promote walkability and

installation was done is going to be far

quickly and just meant as a test. I think

pedestrian safety on Jasper Ave. “I think

different from the permanent installation.

what you are going to see is a much more

that the communication around the

I have every confidence that when we do

refined implementation of that vision.”

priorities was not representative of what

the implementation, it will be done to the

showing what is possible. What will come

The less-than-refined implementation

was heard by myself and others,” says

standard that everyone expects.”

Oliver Community League President

The finalized plan for the area is still a fair way away. The city is reviewing the

that he speaks of was most clearly

Lisa Brown. “At the public engagement,

evidenced by the negative feedback from

people really wanted that street to be

findings from the pop-up on how to bal-

drivers following the removal of the right

focused on pedestrians, and the city

ance the needs and desires of those who

turn lane off of Jasper and onto 109th

turned around and said they needed to

live, work, and play on Jasper Ave. The

street. After testing the lane’s removal

balance pedestrian priority with commut-

project teams are planning to host more

over the first month, the uproar from

er capacity, and that’s something that

public engagement sessions about the

motorists about traffic delays forced

the community league has been really

proposed changes, and are planning to

the city to have it reinstated. “When we

frustrated with since day one.”

take their recommendations in front

reopened the turning lane, drivers were


happy and pedestrians were unhappy,


of council in 2018. Brown and other community members

says Gadidasu, whose team is currently

would like to see more of the road

working with UBC professor Sayed Tarek

designated for alternative forms of

to determine how to mitigate risks for

transportation, suggesting what they

pedestrians utilizing the busy intersection

have coined as a “mobility lane,” which

“At the public engagement, people really wanted that street to be focused on pedestrians.”

without causing a backlog of traffic for

would be an additional car-free lane

drivers wanting to head south down 109th

designated for alternative forms of

street. “We are working to come up with

transportation such as mobility scooters,

Spearey has big hopes for the future of

a solution for permanent construction on

skateboards, and roller-blades. “That

the roadway. “Everyone sees Whyte

Whatever the outcome of the redesign,

how we can best improve the near-miss

would provide an even greater buffer to

Avenue as where you want to go to be

collision scenarios for pedestrians, as well

folks on the sidewalk from traffic. I think

seen and have that urban experience,

as give a better operational function for

that would be a better multi-modal split

but I think at the end of the day, if

vehicles to use the intersection efficiently.”

for the avenue. We can’t build roadway to

Jasper Avenue attains that kind of

get ourselves out of vehicular traffic

status amongst Edmontonians, then

congestion. We have to look at other

we have done our job.”

public transportation modes.”

room of their own

Talk of the Town

A small Alberta town envisions net-zero goals, starting with a retrofitted town hall by vedran skopac | renders: vedran skopac and graeme haunholter


evon, Alberta, is a special little town.

that currently sits vacant. In 2016, the

The ESSO – Imperial Oil Resources

Although its residents number just 6,578,

Town of Devon received approval from

building was constructed in 1980 and is

the community’s ambitions are anything

Town Council to investigate options to

in relatively good shape. The structure

but small: the Town of Devon wants to

upgrade this outdated space and trans-

consists of concrete slab on grade, with a

become Alberta’s first net-zero com-

form it into a highly sustainable and

steel superstructure and standard wood

munity by 2050. This ambition is central

inspiring office space for the Town of

joist studs for floor assemblies and par-

to the community’s distinct character,

Devon staff and residents – preferably,

tition walls. The existing exterior brick

and it is, at least in part, defined by its

this deep green retrofit will target

cladding is in good condition, but the

sustainable municipal policy.

net-zero energy performance.

overall envelope performance will need

The need for a new Devon Town Hall

In addition to demonstrating environ-

represents a crucial opportunity to

mental leadership, the new Town Hall

The existing windows are only single

solidify Devon’s mission and serve as

will be a welcoming, accessible, and

-pane, and the entire mechanical,

a cornerstone for its 2050 program.

vibrant place where people will enjoy

plumbing, and electrical systems are

Rather than build new, the community’s

visiting and working. Offering 1672 m² of

outdated and need to be replaced. One

response to this need was to turn toward

space, the facility will accommodate not

of the building’s more dramatic features

an existing building that needs to be

only Devon’s current council and admin-

is a central stair and skylight, which will

reimagined: the former ESSO – Imperial

istration, but also provide enough room

need to be reconfigured to make room for

Oil Resources building, an 80s building

for growth over the next 25 years.

new functional programming.


to be improved.


There were some must-do items that quickly emerged. During careful examination of the existing conditions, it became clear that the existing windows are leaky and don’t meet current standards. The obvious solution is that all existing exterior glazing must be replaced with new triple-glazed windows. Roofing is another part of the envelope that needs to be entirely replaced – for performance failure reasons. However, when we went deeper into investigating options for the opaque portion of the exterior walls, we arrived at an unexpected yet fortunate conclusion: it is not feasible for this project to assume a costly upgrade of the opaque walls, for several reasons. The cost for upgrading the exterior walls did not seem reasonable compared to Offering plenty of roof surface for a PV

the current cost of adding renewable

(solar) array, and boasting excellent solar

energy systems, even when allowing for

orientation and exposure to the sun for

relatively low energy performance of the

passive heating, as well as soil-covered

existing walls. If geothermal energy is

portions of the main floor exterior walls,

used on site, the total cost impact was

the existing building is a prime candidate

estimated to be less than a third of what

for a deep green energy retrofit.

it would take to upgrade the exterior

A rooftop addition in the form of a light-weight pavilion would provide several benefits to the project.

walls. In that case, the balance could be put back to other elements of the project – such as creating an inspiring interior space for the staff and customers. Knowing that an existing building can be a Pandora’s box, we understand that the

Our reimagine proposal represents an

less we disrupt them, the fewer the risks

evolution in the process that the Town

are. It is difficult to predict the challenges

of Devon began a few years ago. In early

in construction when the layers of exist-

2017 Manasc Isaac began its feasibil-

ing assemblies have been dismantled.


ity study by exploring several possible


The new Devon Town Hall will offer enough room for growth for the next 25 years, and provide varied, invigorating spaces for council and administration alike.

options for the creation of the new

We proposed local investigation and

Devon Town Hall. We started our journey

improvements, which would minimize

by studying numerous documents and

the risk of additional complexities in

studies that were done previously— the

construction. Preservation of the exterior

Town of Devon had already commis-

walls would mean a shorter duration of

sioned several consultants to conduct

construction, which has a direct cost

existing building assessments and energy

impact on a very limited budget. An

performance improvement studies. Most

undesirable result of increasing the exte-

notably, the previous research done on

rior wall depth would be that adding more

the building assumed an imperative to

layers would reduce square footage of the

demolish the existing envelope assembly

interior. The most appealing realisation

layers, which presented a costly upgrade.

was that, if we upgrade the windows and the roof performance, it will not be necessary to upgrade walls to meet the new Energy Code [NECB-2011].

room of their own

Devon’s new town hall will boost the town’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero by 2050.

Working within the budget limitations, our study took into account an extensive spectrum of options, based on minimum scope requirements, to meet the local regulations, project objectives, and project values. We categorized the options we created as small, medium, and large

upgrades. The small option represents the minimum improvement required to meet the current Building and Energy Code. The medium

option adds a minimum additional

scope of improvements to meet some of the specific project values identified by the Town of Devon stakeholders, and the large option is a proposition of additional design provisions necessary in order to meet their ambitious net-zero energy standard.

Because the roof needs to be demolished

treated as a separate item in the cost

and existing skylight removed, a rooftop

estimate exercise, in order to provide a

addition in the form of a lightweight

clear idea of the added value versus the

pavilion would provide several benefits to

cost impact of these two items.

the project: an attractive additional space in the most appealing location in the

The Town of Devon’s strong leadership

building, and an increase in much needed

and values have had a governing influ-

square footage. This rooftop space would

ence on our recommendations for this

increase overall building value, and help

reimagine project. We utilised a ‘values

create a brand new identity for this build-

matrix’ tool in order to better illustrate

ing. We called this rooftop pavilion the

the myriad options and their direct cost

‘Rooftop Gathering’ space.

impact. We hope that Town Council will vote to proceed with this remarkable

The existing building also has an

project, in early 2018!

annex building to the east, which was built about seven years after the main building. We proposed that some of the additional programs required by the Town of Devon [e.g. a gym with showers] that could not fit into the existing building should be located in the annex building. The Rooftop Gathering space and the adaptation of the annex building were


Working within the budget limitations, our study took into account an extensive spectrum of options.


BRICK BY BRICK A national not-for-profit has begun a retrofit of an old Kiln building by chris bateman

t started with a hole in the ground.

In the apocryphal founding story of the Don Valley Brick Works, land owner

Now, Evergreen is embarking on its

most ambitious Brick Works restoration

yet, working with construction company

EllisDon and LGA Architectural Partners

William T. Taylor was digging fence

to transform the 5,000 m² former

the ground consisted of unusually

city-building hub.

holes in April 1882 when he noticed high-quality clay.

Fired in a nearby kiln, the samples

turned a bright cherry red and proved ideal for brick-making. Taylor set

up a factory near the Don River and

kiln building into a carbon-neutral,

When it’s finished, the restored kiln

building will be a year-round destina-

tion equipped with a convening area, collaboration space, and exhibition hall for provoking questions and

the roughly 12 million prize-winning

solutions for sustainable living and

helped build Toronto, Canada, and the

said Seana Irvine, Evergreen’s Chief

bricks and pipes it produced each year

United States.

The coal (and later oil and natural gas)

kilns of the Don Valley Brick Works that

Taylor founded puffed smoke and soot

building in the cities of the 21st Century,

Strategy Officer and the lead on the

kiln redevelopment project.

“How we design and plan our cities

in light of massive disruption from

for more than 100 years until falling into

technology and smart cities, in light of

In 2002, the not-for-profit, Evergreen,

are going to be put into the infrastruc-

it a home for their work: a demonstra-

paramount questions of our time. We

experience sustainable ideas and prac-

moving great ideas forward quickly.”

disuse in the 1990s.

took over the 16-building site and made tion hub where people can come to

tices that fuel flourishing cities. The

climate change, [and] massive amounts of investment, public and private, that

ture of our cities,” she said. “These are need to do better and we need ways of

site also provides a test bed for green

The centre is being built inside the Kiln

Evergreen landscaped former clay pits with

campus, where raw clay bricks were

down factory buildings into a community

turning them into solid forms capable

practices and technologies.

native plants and turned many of the run-

hub with a popular farmer’s market,

skating rink, cafe, and garden centre.

photo: brian mcburney

Building, a gigantic 1950s structure on the east flank of the Evergreen

dried and fired at thousands of degrees, of supporting structures.




render: lga architectural partners

“It’s [a building] that’s about city

building at its core bones. It used clay

and shale from the valley, natural

materials laid down through ice ages

rently] a lot we can’t do with it because

elements designed to augment them.

After spending years making the

place for interactive workshops, community programs and events that focus on working collaboratively to create flourishing cities of the future.


restorations are critical to Canada

LEED Platinum building in 2010,

“Let’s really be a model for how to have

Evergreen turned its attention to

in the Paris agreement,” Irvine said.

those conversations; how do we retrofit

the Kiln Building initially in 2013

and refurbish the millions of buildings

and in 2016 for the restoration.

there as we look to a low-carbon agenda.”

Evergreen, led by CEO Geoff Cape, decided early that the restoration should go

beyond LEED certification. The entire

residential and commercial already out

Construction services company EllisDon

is leading the construction process.

Project management is being provided

project, including the sourcing, manu-

pro bono, adopting the project as a pilot

and materials, should be entirely car-

Through the design and construction

facturing, and transportation of parts bon-neutral, they decided.

On top of all that, Evergreen determined


“Adaptive reuse and retrofits and

achieving its low-carbon goals set out

with funding for early stage studies,

case for green design and a gathering

would be restored and new program

other buildings on their campus

usable, including the opening of a

Evergreen Brick Works will be a show-

insulate the walls or roof to make tra-

ditional heating and cooling more effi-

cient. The brick kilns inside the building

it’s unconditioned and exposed.”

re The restored historic kiln building at

heritage status, Evergreen could not

going back 150,000 years,”said Irvine.

“It’s a beautiful space, but there’s [cur-

photo: tom arban

Due to the Kiln Building’s protected

that the restoration should also stand

as an example of how to repurpose

historic buildings, and brought in ERA

Architects to oversee the heritage aspects of the project.

under its Low Carbon Impact Initiative.

process, EllisDon is developing a new carbon accounting tool that will help

developers measure the environmental

impact of their projects and, they hope,

will ultimately push industry to set new

green building standards.

“Let’s really be a model for how “Let’s really be a model for how to have those conversations; to have those conversations; how do we retrofit and refurhow do we retrofit and refurbish the millions of buildings bish the millions of buildings residential and commercial residential and commercial already out there as we look already out there as we look to a low-carbon agenda.” to a low-carbon agenda.”

The Brickworks Breakdown


“That’s exciting for us because not only “That’s exciting for us because not only are we building their project, but we’re are we building their project, but we’re using it as a way to create a new techusing it as a way to create a new technology around greenhouse gas tracking.” nology around greenhouse gas tracking.” EllisDon is also acting as a broker EllisDon is also acting as a broker between Evergreen and like-minded, between Evergreen and like-minded, environmentally-friendly companies environmentally-friendly companies looking to help Evergreen create one of looking to help Evergreen create one of Canada’s first carbon neutral buildings. Canada’s first carbon neutral buildings. One of these companies, GeoSource One of these companies, GeoSource Energy, sunk 40 geothermal boreholes Energy, sunk 40 geothermal boreholes 180 metres into the ground beneath the 180 metres into the ground beneath the Kiln Building. Filled with glycol, each Kiln Building. Filled with glycol, each borehole will channel warmth stored in borehole will channel warmth stored in the ground up to the building in winter. the ground up to the building in winter.

reduction in energy consumption 33 tons almost 20 reduction in

carbon output 633 tons

180m deep Forty glycol-filled boreholes channel geothermal warmth to the building in the winter.

the beauty of retrofit

In summer, the process will work in In summer, the process will work in reverse: 600 rooftop solar thermal reverse: 600 rooftop solar thermal panels will direct the sun’s heat down panels will direct the sun’s heat down into the ground for storage. into the ground for storage. Evergreen is proud of this geothermal Evergreen is proud of this geothermal -solar closed loop, which it says is only -solar closed loop, which it says is only in use one other place in Canada, at in use one other place in Canada, at the Drake Landing Solar Community in the Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta. Evergreen hopes the system Alberta. Evergreen hopes the system will reduce the energy consumption of will reduce the energy consumption of the Kiln Building by up to 75 percent. the Kiln Building by up to 75 percent.


rooftop solar thermal panels


“We’re tracking everything from trucks “We’re tracking everything from trucks coming and going, to buying materials, coming and going, to buying materials, and eventually [the tool] will be used to and eventually [the tool] will be used to help with the operations, so Evergreen help with the operations, so Evergreen can track and follow the greenhouse gas can track and follow the greenhouse gas impact going forward,” said Andrew impact going forward,” said Andrew Bowerbank, EllisDon’s Global Director Bowerbank, EllisDon’s Global Director of Sustainable Building Services. of Sustainable Building Services.

49 47

re When finished, the Kiln Building will be a year-round destination and a forum to evolve sustainable living and building approaches in the 21st century.

photo: tom arban

Combined with under-floor heating,

the anticipated carbon output of the

building will be slashed from 633 tons a

have been raised far enough above the

Evergreen to take it over and rehabili-

of five-year and ten-year floods. Much

offset strategy that will include, among

tate the site, starting in 2002.)

“Now we want to work with city builders of today—planners, designers, activists, policymakers— to create a space that’s welcoming for open, exploratory, solutionfocused conversations.” On top of the heritage and green-

manufacturing. Electrical systems and

other potentially breakable systems

prises, to move. (The Don Valley Brick

Works was set aside, however, allowing

other actions, planting trees.

“You can’t hold back the waters. The 100 -year flood is now no longer every 100

years,” said Bowerbank, who was previ-

ously head of sustainability at the TRCA.

“We’ve developed this whole system

where the floor actually floats above

these arching cupolas where the water can actually flow underneath the new concrete floor,” he said.

“It’s a very innovative idea to not necessarily have to push back the water, but allow

ground to keep them beyond the reach

of the ground floor has been finished

in concrete or tile— materials that can withstand the occasional soaking.

The overall design of the Kiln Building

redevelopment is lead by Toronto-based LGA Architectural Partners, the firm

responsible for the Scarborough Civic Centre library and the renovation of

the Centre for Native Child and Family

Well Being, two Toronto buildings with strong environmental credentials.

“There’s been a real priority on the part of the design team to take a very broad, light

building challenges, the Evergreen

the water to come in when it needs to.”

making it highly susceptible to flooding.

The cement used to construct the com-

After Hurricane Hazel ravaged Toronto

with heating and cooling. Made by CRH

touch in thinking about the way that you

insulation compared to regular cement,

that is so unique and has so much distinct

campus sits in the Don River valley,


residents, mostly commercial enter-

year to just 33. It won’t quite be carbon

neutral, but Evergreen is developing an


river valleys and encouraged existing

in 1954, the Toronto and Region

Conservation Authority prohibited

new building in Toronto’s ravines and

plex floating floor system also helps

Canada, it provides 20 percent better

while generating less CO2 during

touch approach to everything,” said Drew

Adams, the project architect.“A light

touch in terms of thinking about the

environmental footprint, but also a light intervene in a heritage building, and one

character of its own,” he said.

As part of LGA’s plans, the four,

30-metre drying kilns that dominate the northwest corner of the building will be

turned into a multi-purpose space for

Evergreen to use as a gallery, as well as a

conference or meeting room.

A mezzanine level, one of the few new pieces of construction, will appear to

float above the kiln structures and

contain classrooms and an observation

deck with a view down the length of the

Kiln Building. A hole in the west wall

that once exposed the building to the

elements in winter is being sealed with be opened in summer or closed up when

the weather gets too cold.

“One of the things that’s been really

interesting is the idea that a building

doesn’t have to be even-handedly

Through the glass, visitors will see

treated,” said Adams.“[It’s] a really

building, minus its roof, that contains

think stands in contrast to the way

Koerner Gardens, a former factory

native and edible plants and, in winter,

the site of the city’s most sustainable

skating rink, where the excess heat from the cooling system heats the

interesting design thesis that I

a lot of building design is approached these days.”

Other historical features, such as the

adjacent building.

tracks used to move material around the

Even though the Kiln Building will be

once circulated hot air between

factory and an elaborate duct system that

sealed, the climate won’t be heavily

the kilns, will also be retained and

heating. In winter, the temperature

expected to be complete by late spring or

regulated, save for the under-floor will be allowed to fall to around 16

degrees, the theory being that it’s more energy efficient to bundle up than to

incorporated into the centre, which is

summer 2019.

city of the past,” Irvine said. “Now

In summer, ceiling skylights in the

today —planners, designers, activists,

we want to work with city builders of

vaulted ceiling will do the work of

policy-makers— to create a space

reducing the amount to which the

solution-focused conversations.”

post-industrial environment of the Kiln Building will be processed or treated for its future human occupants.


One of the first milestones was the completion of the concrete flooring, incorporating some of the most

“[The Kiln Building] built the industrial

use heaters to warm the air.

energy-hungry air conditioning, further

photos: (top) michael h. reichmann, (middle + bottom) brian mcburney,

that’s welcoming for open, exploratory,

innovative materials and technologies. A unique raised cavity floor system called Cupolex allows water to flow underneath, mitigating flood damage and managing stormwater. A lowtemperature radiant flooring fed by heating and cooling pipes connected to a heat pump system will be the

“Let’s look at how we can make building our cities sustainable for the future.”

primary source of heat conditioning the building.


an 80-metre glass curtainwall that can


ASSEMBLY REQUIRED A former auto plant in Australia is given new life as an innovation hub by shelley williamson | photography: sam noonan


hen Milos Milutinovic was in high school, he visited

the bustling Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Tonsley, South

Australia where he recalls seeing thousands of auto workers breaking for lunch in the main assembly building cafeteria. That trip impressed on him how the automotive industry had been woven into the socio-economic fibre of the greater Adelaide area from the 1950s to the 2000s. In 2008, the Mitsubishi (formerly Chrysler) plant that employed multiple generations of auto workers shuttered its doors, sig-

nalling the end of car production in South Australia. In October

2017, the General Motors Holden plant, the last car maker in the country, also closed its operations.

The government of South Australia, under the umbrella of

Renewal SA, acquired the Clovelly Park or Tonsley site and in

2010 put out a call for submissions as to how the iconic land and its structures, including a main assembly building (MAB) and

surrounding 61-hectare brownfield, could be reimagined.

Milutinovic, a senior associate at Woods Bagot, answered the

government’s call, along with the likes of heavy-hitting finan-

ciers Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young. His firm, the only archi-

tect to bid, was chosen to create a master plan to repurpose the

massive MAB and create an area to serve as work, retail, training,

educational, and breakout spaces for thousands of users.

assembly building. The building, itself, is 11 hectares under one roof. That was one of the key outcomes from the master plan,”

says Milutinovic, who became the project leader for the Tonsley

Innovation District. Woods Bagot, the sixth-largest architectural

firm in the world, enlisted the expertise of fellow Australian firm,

Tridente Architects.


“One of the things we drove was the retention of the main


re The MAB offers a wide variety of amenities outside of occupants’ tenancies, such as breakout spaces and cafés.

The team rolled up its collective sleeves to start work at the

Tonsley site in 2012, and the importance of somehow bringing innovation and industry back to the area was not lost on

Milutinovic. “It was pretty powerful when I worked on the cafeteria, which was then empty,” he explains. “Having an empty

site sends a very strong message to the community, so it was

something that the government acted on quickly. It’s that social connection which was the key to keeping the structure and what it represented.”

The massive saw-tooth roof of the building became a focal

point in the design. Weather, which can fluctuate between

40-plus-Celsius heat in summer and biting cold punctuated by

high winds off the ocean in winter months, played a key part in

the roof treatment and material selection.

“The whole idea is to provide as much of that amenity outside of people’s tenancies, so their tenancies would merely be designed around what they are trying to achieve and not have to think about having kitchens – or even toilets.” The move to retain the existing roof saved a carbon footprint at the Tonsley site of 90,000 tons – the equivalent of taking an

estimated 25,000 cars off the road for a year. Three-megawatt

arrays of solar panels, and the use of recycled water from a

scaped features – provide space for users to stretch legs, and share the space and potentially ideas.

“The whole idea is to provide as much of that amenity outside of

people’s tenancies, so their tenancies would merely be designed

around what they are trying to achieve and not have to think about

accreditation – the highest level any urban renewal had

vided toilet facilities, service quarters. Within the main assembly

ever achieved in Australia.

“The roof is a combination of polycarbonate panels – they look

like glass skylights – and solid roof elements. When we started

having kitchens – or even toilets,” says Milutinovic. “We’ve probuilding we have five service quarters – they house the electrical,

communications, toilets, bin stores, bike facilities.” Not everyone embraced his design approach at first.

this, we identified five different zones or uses within this facil-

“I was getting questions for about two years, people saying ‘Can

Poland. “The first one was a breakout space, where people would

“And I’d say ‘there is no example because it doesn’t really exist,’ ”

ity,” says Milutinovic, noting the panels were brought in from

go for lunches. Then there’s a gathering space, with places like

cafés, and in those areas we wanted to have predominantly the

sunlight come through, but we also wanted to have protection from the weather, and a large proportion of glazed roof. Then

you show me an example of where it works?’” explains Milutinovic. he jokes. “Finally once this thing started getting built on site and

tenants started coming onboard, then I remember a conversation with my client and him saying ‘now I understand that thing you were telling me a year ago.’ That was actually the hardest part,

there’s wayfinding or street elements, or the spaces between

getting people to understand the vision.”

where the tenancies are so they have a fairly solid roof.”

As the building was more than 60 years old, it would have to be

Inside the MAB, the “pods” dictated the design, with the goal of

Bagot worked closely with engineers to ensure the best design

the tenancies where people walk. Then we have the work spaces reimagine

m² instalments for tenant leases. A town square, retail area and

café, and breakout space – called “forests” because of their land-

nearby aquifer, were among myriad sustainable features that

helped earn the project a rare 6-Star Green Star Communities


The modular pods comprise 80 percent of the MAB, in 250- 3,000

keeping them simple. For this, Woods Bagot worked with Nick

Tridente and his firm, who’d had some previous pod experience.

brought up to current building and earthquake codes, so Woods

possible.“The layout of the main assembly building was driven by

science. We actually had a Canadian firm, RWDI – wind engineers

The Main Assembly Building created a brand new concept for work, retail, training, educational and breakout spaces.




re The roof of the MAB is a combination of polycarbonate panels (which look like glass skylights) for zones like cafés, and solid roof elements to contain workspaces.

out of Toronto – help. Our sustainability engineers were out of

What appealed to the government about Tonsley was the

through a computer model that generated the wind conditions

12 kilometres away, as well as to the main rail line, with a

New York, Atelier Ten. They engaged RWDI, who ran the layout

for Adelaide, gathered historical environmental data, and fed

that through their computer system and overlaid it with the data

Expressway in the works. Meanwhile two kilometres away from

Tonsley sits the main campus of Flinders University, which also

larger tenancies to serve as a buffer, while smaller-scale tenants

at Tonsley as of February 2015. A second training venue, for

breakout areas between tenant spaces, the design allowed for

Centre (SIEC) opened onsite at Tonsley in early 2014.

to the east would create cross ventilation on hot days. In the roofless sections, to cool the space by drawing out heat.

“Iconic buildings attract people, and the MAB certainly is an iconic building.” Daniel Redden, Project Director for Tonsley, was impressed by

Woods Bagot’s master plan as it aligned with the vision of the

government of South Australia for reinvigorating the historic site.

“There were calls for things including a bus depot, large format

has a Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics School

tradespeople, TAFE SA’s Sustainable Industries Education

“What you’ve got is a once-in-a-lifetime urban infill development site,” says Redden. “It’s five minutes from the beach, and 25 min-

utes from McLaren Vale, a really famous wine region in Australia. From a location point of view, there are a number of interesting

points for Tonsley, and from an employment point of view, it was important that the employment hub was re-established.”

Aurrigo, a UK-based company specializing in autonomous

vehicles, and Navya, a French startup that’s known for driverless

retail, a large hardware store – really low-value land uses, and

shuttles, have signed on as part of a $6-million future mobility

in place with the team which included Milos and Woods Bagot,

shuttles to deliver both people and parcels within the MAB,

Redden. “Iconic buildings attract people, and the MAB certainly is

them around the Tonsley Innovation District, Redden says.

calls to be redeveloped quickly. But there was a strong vision put


$620-million upgrade to the line connecting to the Southern

that we gave them,” says Milutinovic. To mitigate the westerly

wind, it was determined that side of the MAB would be ideal for


proximity – to the city of Adelaide and the airport less than

and we are now really starting to see the benefit of that,” says an iconic building.”

fund from the SA government to support trials of autonomous

ultimately picking people up from the train station and ushering

Sage Innovation, which focuses on industrial controls,

a residential component, which will begin selling in early 2018,

of the Tonsley MAB. Meanwhile, Micro-X, which has created

an adaptive reuse of the Boiler House (where the steam for the

an ultra-lightweight, portable X-ray (about 70 kilograms versus the traditional 500) designed for use in hospital emergency rooms, military hospitals, and other tight spaces, is also a

featuring a mix of 850 three-storey terraces and apartments, and plant was once produced). Microbrewers, distillers, and hospitality operators are currently submitting proposals for their visions

for the space, which Redden says will be a “nighttime destina-

tenant. “They employ a lot of ex-auto workers and engineers.

tion for entertainment.”

ing processes. Eighty percent of the parts are sourced locally for

The goal is for the Tonsley precinct to be self-sufficient, Redden

They’ve brought an auto-making approach to their manufacturthe equipment,” says Redden.

To stick to the original Tonsley vision, tenancies must fit a

“suitability matrix,” Milutinovic explains. “It rates who we want on site, [tenants] who would have a positive impact in terms of

employment, new technologies, innovation, links from educa-

tion to jobs, so driving startups, that’s where the focus was from the government. To their credit, the government has very much

stuck by the suitability matrix, so the tenants we have in there are leading their industries.”

About 1,200 people spread across 120 companies currently work out of the Tonsley MAB and pods. An additional 2,000 students

attend the TAFE and Flinders campuses. Next on the agenda is

re In order to secure a spot in the MAB, tenants must fit a “suitability matrix,” which rates their potential positive impact on employment, new technologies, innovation, and their ability to link education to jobs

says. “It’s important to incorporate residential development

close to where you work, close to where you study, public transit, in a really sustainable precinct. We really focused on trying to

avoid segregation of work and play and life; we’ve really tried to

integrate all of those elements into Tonsley.” And the complexity, innovation and sustainability of the elements integrated into the

Tonsley MAB and pods has not gone unnoticed.

Redden says the Tonsley reimagine turned out even better than

expected.“I don’t think there are too many places in the world

like Tonsley. I don’t think there are too many places that com-

pletely integrate residential development, entertainment, jobs

in emerging sectors of the economy, universities, research, trade

training and a place to test and trial new technology.”

the mab retrofit is a real winner its awards include:










instrumentation and innovation, is leasing a 3,100 m² slice


The Road Ahead CaGBC’s A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada report details GHG emissions savings potential by akua schatz, director of advocacy & development for the canada green building council images: canada green building council


esearch shows that 80 per cent of

approach to building retrofits and clean

existing buildings will still be standing

energy. Furthermore, the report provides

in 2030. It goes without saying that the

government and industry with recom-

industry needs to address the sustainabil-

mendations for increasing the uptake of

ity of these buildings if we are to succeed

building retrofits and introduces carbon as

in reducing emissions overall. Thankfully,

a key indicator of building performance.

the potential is enormous: not just in tions (up to 51 per cent), but also in terms

a shift in focus from energy to carbon

of energy savings and economic impact.

The report emphasizes the importance

terms of the possibility for carbon reduc-

of using carbon as a key indicator in Despite the diversity of our energy grids,

evaluating building performance. While

every province has a significant role to

energy is often used as a proxy for carbon

play in meeting climate objectives. This

performance, because energy data is

province-specific approach to emissions

more readily available and relates directly

reductions potential is the key component

to costs, evaluating a building’s energy

of the Canada Green Building Council

performance alone fails to consider how

(CaGBC)’s recently released A Roadmap

carbon emissions vary between electric-

for Retrofits in Canada, which demon-

ity grids across the country and between

strates the critical role that existing

fuels used on site.

buildings play in advancing Canada’s low-carbon future.

What this means is that building owners,


managers, tenants, service providers,


Among its findings, the report details how

and policymakers need to adopt a subtle

targeted strategic investments in existing

yet important shift from exclusively

buildings represent a significant oppor-

addressing “energy use intensity” and

tunity for substantial carbon reductions

“energy performance” to a view that also

across the country. It also shows how each

prioritizes “total carbon footprint” and

region can contribute to meeting Canada’s

“carbon performance”.

climate change goals through a targeted

what’s trending

The report identifies four actions that could enable large buildings in Canada to achieve up to a 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 2005:


If building performance is to be assessed based on carbon, fuel switching (electrification) will play an increasingly important role. This means making a switch from building systems that use natural gas or


other carbon-intensive fuel to those that


heating/cooling systems.





use high-efficiency, electricity-based systems or low-carbon fuels like renewable biomass and low carbon district

The report notes that in order for the switch to electrification to provide carbon benefits, it needs to take place only in regions where the electricity grid’s carbon intensity is below 530g CO²/kWh (assuming a conservative air source heat pump efficiency (COP) of 2.5). Electricity grids in every province in


Canada are forecasted to operate below


this threshold by 2027. Therefore, regions that today have carbon-intensive electricity grids (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia) will soon realize a carbon benefit from electrification. A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada will be followed by a third CaGBC report, to be published in Spring 2018, which will provide policy options that would overcome barriers that hinder the implementation of retrofit projects and identify the financing mechanisms necessary to

Source: 2014 emission intensities from Canada’s National Inventory Report 2017, 2016 emissions from WSP National Carbon roadmap model.


stimulate the retrofit economy.

For more information go to


Building Hope Is a former Remand Centre too tricky a space to transform into a community hub for vulnerable citizens?


by tiffany shaw-collinge | renders: jordan polanski


public eye


or half a decade, the former

‘Could this be a site of reconciliation?’ the

downtown remand centre has been a

Elders were asked; would this be a good

hulking, dark presence on 97th street,

place for healing? In being cognizant and

just south of the railway bridge that now

sensitive to community members who

sports a community garden. Even when

may have difficult memories, it was

it was occupied, this massive precast-

clear that if the renovation of the former

clad building was closed to the street,

Edmonton remand centre into a commu-

its prison-like function projecting a

nity hub for Boyle Street were to happen,

negative tone on Edmonton’s downtown.

the project would have to transform the

Following the building’s closure in 2012,

existing design significantly so as not to

Manasc Isaac conducted a reimagine study

trigger negative memories and experiences

as requested by Alberta Infrastructure,

in its visitors.

and provided alternative programming options, such as office use, building it

Elders blessed the idea and the Manasc

up for mixed use, or converting it into

Isaac design team got to work, creating

student dormitory housing to support

a new vision of the building - one that

the growth of expanding educational

would enhance the quality of life for

institutions in the downtown core.

the clients of the Community Centre,

Downtown Edmonton has changed in the

Street streetscape.

while adding a lively element to the 97 intervening years, begging the question

photo: manasc isaac

of what to make of this massive empty

The nearly 20,000 m2, 33 year-old precast

building. With the new Royal Alberta

concrete, purpose-built correctional facil-

Museum opening across the street in 2018

ity is in surprisingly good condition.

and revitalization occurring throughout

The crucifix-shaped floor plan allows for

the city’s centre, new interest in this old

ample light to enter into the building from

building emerged, including that of The

all angles, especially if the thin windows

Community Centre at Boyle Street, who

(a holdover from when the building

was looking for a home to provide a broad

housed people in remand) were opened

range of services to vulnerable citizens

up dramatically to brighten the interiors.

within the city of Edmonton. As their

The revamped building design reflects the

search began, the former remand centre

vision, ethos, and values of its new occu-

was deemed inappropriate, and was

pants, partner organizations and commu-

excluded from considerations.

nity member clients alike, offering a safe, welcoming space to encourage community.

Spatial/visual memory can be one of the

The existing condition of the former remand centre belies its harsh, institutional past.

The new design will allow its partners to provide immediate access to critical

ations. Some of the community centre’s

services to its clients with unprecedented

prospective visitors may have been held

coordination and integration, thereby

at the former Edmonton remand centre in

restoring hope, offering respite, and

the past, or may have had friends and loved

helping to realize the potential of its vis-

ones that were held there. Past experiences

itors, many of whom experience periods

in the building could be painful ones.

of homelessness and housing instability.

Elders were asked to examine the former

The Community Centre at Boyle Street

remand centre in light of its history and

will integrate drop-in services, and offer

its former role within the community.

new supportive housing, access to detox


most powerful forms of memory, a vivid trigger for past experiences and associ-


In order to respect the trauma that visitors might associate with the structure, its redesign will have to be thorough, deliberate and thoughtful.

beds, short-term transitional housing and a comprehensive range of on-site health and social support services such as referrals, placements and ongoing support. Recognizing that a majority of visitors to the Community Centre will be Indigenous, the design will honour this heritage by incorporating culturally sensitive elements, yet remaining inclusive to all. The use of natural, land-based materials, artwork, community engagement and circular/organic shapes that resonate with Indigenous communities will all contribute to the welcoming character of the Community Centre. In this way, the Centre’s design and the service delivery program offered will encourage and support the process of reconciliation


and conciliation within the community,


The existing condition of a cell block suffers from a lack of light and a decidedly institutional feel.

photo: manasc isaac

a movement that has transformed and flourished in the area since the building’s closure.

public eye

an outreach worker), the LIVING Bridge public urban garden/connection over 97 Street, and the upcoming development of the Armature that enacts a “green street” corridor connecting through the quarters south to the river valley along 96 Street from 103A Avenue to Jasper Avenue. The main plaza is located on the south side photo: manasc isaac Narrow windows speak to the former remand centre’s purpose, as shown in this photo of a cell’s existing condition. These windows will be opened up and enlarged in the design process for the Community Centre at Boyle Street.

of the Community Centre and leads to the main entry. Edges within the plaza will be softened with a back and forth weave of plants, resembling a river. Seating will be located along the pathway to the entrance, in organic forms resembling river rocks. Landscaping along the plaza will feature

The location of the former Edmonton

This bold vision of the Community Centre

many plants native to the area, includ-

remand centre is well suited for the

at Boyle Street marks the first of its kind

ing rose bushes, tall grasses and Dwarf

co-location of the services planned for

in Canada.Co-location of these organiza-

Saskatoon Berries.

the Community Centre at Boyle Street.

tions is estimated to provide immediate

Since 2015, Manasc Isaac, in partnership

cost savings of almost $500,000 per year

with Boyle Street Community Services,

in reduced operational costs. Other

centre will be completely reimagined.

has conducted rigorous community

financial benefits have been calculated

Windows will dramatically increase

The exterior facade of the former remand

engagement. Through numerous work-

to compound the benefits of repurposing

in size and number to provide a bright

shops and engagement sessions, over

this building. In fact, overall cost savings

and open interior. Heavy concrete will be

600 individuals, including organizations,

of over $60 million are estimated in the

replaced with a combination of light and

non-profit agencies, along with other

first ten years – through cost realloca-

colourful materials. Organic, curved ele-

service providers, local residents, com-

tion, future cost avoidance from reduced

ments replace rigid corners at the main

munity leagues, downtown businesses, as

visits to hospital emergency rooms, and

entry along 97 Street and the central area

well as municipal, provincial and federal

improved individual health.

engaged. Individuals and families currently benefiting from agencies, such as Boyle Street Community Services, Boyle McCauley Health Centre and the

This bold vision of the Community Centre at Boyle Street marks the first of its kind in Canada.

between the north and west faces of the tower. Additionally, these elements will be transparent to reinforce the calming and welcoming character of the building. The central area between the north and west tower contains an interior healing garden to provide a place of respite to those who need

George Spady Centre, could utilize the site without greatly increasing the distance to

This location also has remarkable access

it. A ramping system called the Resiliency

critical services.

to green space including the adjacent

Atrium surrounds a healing garden and

Mary Burlie Park (named after an extraor-

provides connections and easy access

dinary woman that worked at BSCS as

between the upper floors.


politicians, and civil servants have been


This project could facilitate unprecedented coordination between service providers and non-profit agencies.

Areas for direct and passive supervision

This unique, collaborative approach will

are also well-considered in the design

enable the Community Centre at Boyle

of the new facility, and fully integrate

Street to offer a comprehensive and

CPTED (Crime Prevention Through

integrated continuum of services that has

Environmental Design) guidelines.

never before been available in one place.

Multiple observation and contact points


are allocated inside and outside of the building so that safety and security

former remand centre as a culturally safe

measures can be felt and also carried out

and inclusive space, this project will set

effectively and expediently. Several other

a new standard for innovation and social

entrances will be available, including a

investment that will assist in reducing

ramp with appropriate turning radiuses

the cycle of poverty, homelessness and

for multiple points of accessibility.

ill-health for a marginalized community,

Trees and plants selected for the space

while at the same time celebrating the

will allow for clear visibility to and

potential of repurposed buildings and

from the plaza.

revitalized streetscapes in our urban core.

This bold vision of the Community Centre

The project’s Business Case says it

at Boyle Street marks the first of its kind

best: “Repurposing the former [remand

in Canada, creating opportunities for

centre] from a place of darkness for many

non-profit and government service pro-

Indigenous people into a place of light,

viders to engage in collaboration and inte-

respect and welcome, along with the

gration with community members on a

development of culturally safe spaces

scale that has not been possible before. Its

in and around the Community Centre at

partners envision the Community Centre

Boyle Street, offers the immeasurable

at Boyle Street as a “true collective, run by

benefit of demonstrating reconciliation

a council of partners, each with an equal

in action.”

share in the success of the collective.”


By resignifying and reimagining the

The Community Centre at Boyle Street prepared a business case that summarizes their vision as follows: “To restore hope and realise potential in the people we serve, the people who serve them and the broader community and, in doing so, break the cycles of poverty, homelessness, and ill health that will make it possible for all Edmontonians to thrive, not simply survive.”

public eye


The landscape design around the facility will support healing and reconciliation


Shaw Conference Centre Thursday, May 10, 2018

source: Canada Green Building Council |

Don’t miss one of the largest annual conferences on real estate investment and management in the region


FORUM CHAIR Kevin McKee CEO, Pangman Development Corp.


The percentage of stakeholders who cite doing the right thing, and client demand as top triggers for increased green activity in the Canadian market.

0 ,89 297 R OF JODBS

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Number of full time jobs represented in CanadaÕ s green building industry.

The amount of GDP that the green building industry generated in 2014. = $1,000,000,000






The potential reduction that CanadaÕ s existing building stock could make in overall building emissions by 2030, through retrofits.





The increase in market penetration of LEED certified buildings in Canada from 2004-2009, to present.


source: Canada Green Building Council’s A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada

Night Lights

Lighting buildings has always been a challenge in winter cities. Decades ago, the preferred way to light buildings was using floodlights from the ground. Then architects became aware of night sky protection requirements, and LEED (the green building rating system) rewarded protection of the night sky to make life better for birds and for the energy budget of our buildings - but dark buildings and dark city streets are gloomy and frightening on long winter nights.

LED Neon lighting was playfully integrated into the curtainwall caps at WSP Place in downtown Edmonton, allowing the geometry of the lighting to “shape-shift,” as the lighting colors can be customized anytime, in order to speak to the events of the day. Now that’s a bright idea!


There are “gingerbread house” solutions - lighting designs that make buildings look as if they belong in Disneyland: lots of bulbs twinkling, suggesting Ferris wheels turning against the dark night sky. Although fun for a while, these lighting strategies get old fast, and lose their luster if you watch them day after day. In recent years, the evolution of LED lighting has allowed the illumination of bridges and facades. “LED Neon” technology makes the light produced even more linear and less pixelated, while using even less energy with minimal impact on the night sky.

photo: terry lawson photography


last word

DYNAMIC FACADES • Facades designed to take protection from the elements to a new level • These facades are designed to breathe and move, interacting with current weather and environment • Facades that can intuitively shade and insulate by adjusting depending on hourly weather conditions

PHASE CHANGE MATERIALS • Store thermal heat gain during the day to use as free heating at night • Increase thermal mass in light-weight concrete with potential energy savings of up to 20% • Significantly reduce peak energy required for heating and cooling by about 39%

INORGANIC CERAMIC NANO PARTICLE COATING • Creates an ultra-high durability surface for weather exposed components on buildings • Potential to increase the durability of wood by 20x

AEROGEL • Literally a space age material, aerogels are showing great promise to product developers and researchers • Increase glazing insulation performance by 400% • Increase opaque insulation thickness by 80% and keep the same insulating value

Thick Skin

5 High-Tech Trends in Facade Design Manasc Isaac delegates report back with the most exciting new technologies presented at the Advanced Building Skins Conference held in Bern, Switzerland in October 2017

For more information go to

TEXTILE FACADES • As a light-weight material, textile facades can be used for large, expansive spaces, such as stadiums and bio-domes • Up to 95% of visible light transmission with almost any shape while exceeding minimum insulation energy code requirements


GlasCurtain’s composite curtain wall system reduces operating costs by up to 20% and reduces environmental impact by up to 50%. It’s the future. The Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce was certified LEED® Platinum in 2017.

The future is fibreglass. The future is GlasCurtain.

Engaging. Architecture. As Canadian leaders in net zero design, we work with communities to shape healthy, beautiful and sustainable environments. EDMONTON | CALGARY | VANCOUVER | BUCHAREST

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