Reimagine Magazine | Issue 2: Winter 2015

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• Ask an architect • EIA tower study • Trends in LEED-EB • San Telmo artspace • Wonderful in Winnipeg THE BEAUTY OF RETROFIT




EPL’S ONE DESK Stanley Milner Library revises its service stance

REBUILDING AN EMPIRE NYC’s tallest landmark gets a deep retrofit

OFFICE SPACE Cubicles are a thing of the past



How a simple change to an existing parking structure helped rejuvenate Calgary’s Fourth Street


10 Seeing the

possibilities in an outdated facade

11 Ask an architect:

embodied energy broken down

12 Why property

managers, owners are embracing LEED (EB)

18 It’s what’s on the

The 1800 building

inside that counts

26 The Avenue gets a fresh start in Winnipeg

34 Korea’s Hanwha headquarters saves face

36 Stanley Milner’s

One Desk is futurefriendly


is repurposed as a leading library

22 The “ugliest building in Denver” loses title

30 The Empire State

Building becomes a deep retrofit leader

39 A 16th-century museum embraces its natural side

42 EIA floats renewal

for its aging tower winter 2015

Contents photos: BOOKSTRUCKER, Fred Fuhrmeister, ESRT Empire State Building L.L.C., Fernando Alda Lara Swimmer

6 A Walmart store


reimagine ISSUE #2 WINTER 2015

MANASC ISAAC ARCHITECTS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Vivian Manasc ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kent McKay GRAPHIC DESIGN CONSULTANT Lisa Mentz VENTURE PUBLISHING INC. PUBLISHER Ruth Kelly DIRECTOR OF CUSTOM CONTENT Mifi Purvis MANAGING EDITOR Shelley Williamson ART DIRECTOR Ryan Girard PRODUCTION MANAGER Betty Feniak Smith PRODUCTION TECHNICIANS Brent Felzien, Brandon Hoover DIRECTOR OF CIRCULATION Sharlene Clarke CIRCULATION Karen Reilly CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Beauchamp, Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, Martin Dover, Lindsay Farr, Richard Isaac, Jen Janzen, Shafraaz Kaba, Vivian Manasc, Nadia Moharib CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS Bookstrucker, Fernando Alda, Brice Ferré, Heather McIntyre, Lara Swimmer Reimagine is a biannual publication produced by Venture Publishing for architectural firm Manasc Isaac. Manasc Isaac is a Canadian leader in integrated sustainable building with deep expertise in the reimagining of existing buildings, primarily those built between 1950 and 2000. Reimagine 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.

Contents © 2014 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





Vivian Manasc Editor-In-Chief

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or decades, I’ve been thinking about ways to repurpose existing buildings. In the latest issue of the Economist, admittedly the only news magazine that I usually enjoy, was an article entitled “Bringing the House Down,” about new technology for the demolition of existing towers in compact urban conditions. Discussing the whiz-bang innovations and enhanced recycling in the demolition of towers in Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Lyons, one question is missing: why tear down perfectly good towers when they can be repurposed at a fraction of the capital costs, with significantly lower environmental impact? Let’s talk about why we need to reimagine – and also, why now? We are inspired to reimagine in both grand gestures and small interventions – at the small scale, this issue of the magazine showcases the dramatic benefits of the modestly reimagined workplaces (including our own) that enable companies to enhance productivity, creativity and the number of team members who can effectively occupy a given floor plate.These refreshing design ideas and solutions highlight the results of transforming existing spaces and creating flexible creative environments.Why? To make better use of existing space, so we don’t have to demolish and build new. And that is just the beginning. On the urban design front, our cover story talks about the value of investing in a community, especially after major challenges.The 1800 - 4th Street project in Calgary, located near one of the hardest hit spots of the Calgary floods of 2013, was completed in the fall of 2013, and represents Strategic Group’s commitment to the community.We worked with an old parkade to create a new face, and a renewed sense of community. Refreshing the face of a parkade seems a modest intervention – until you see the

effect it has on the neighbourhood.We met with the community league and they were delighted to see that the scale and texture of the facade could be enriched, attracting better tenants and animating the street. From booming Calgary to the Big Apple, we will talk about the Empire State Building and its reimagined future, with a clear focus on the importance of extending the life of iconic buildings while reversing decades of wasteful energy practices. We have found great reimagine examples all over the world – and we bring these together in this magazine, to highlight what is really feasible.We are inspired by what’s possible in our own neighbourhood – and what can be realistically achieved over the next decade or two. Every day, as I walk down the streets of Edmonton and Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal, I see possibilities – buildings that need to be reimagined to enrich the urban experience as well as the environmental performance. Speaking a few months ago at BOMA Edmonton’s first Energy Conference, I was delighted to see the interest of the property management community, in going beyond the effective operations and maintenance of existing buildings – and exploring the added value of reimagining buildings, for enhanced energy efficiency as well as enhanced asset value. Recently, we looked at the opportunities to reimagine two significant government buildings in Edmonton as well as a residential condo building – these will be showcased in our Spring 2015 issue. Stay tuned! Peter Diamandis, author of the bestseller Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, was in Edmonton for E-Town 2014. His comments about the abundance of solar energy reminded us that we are very close to some breakthroughs in building design and sustainable net-zero operations.We are looking at ways to create more momentum around the repurposing of existing buildings.This magazine is a part of that – an invitation to join us in a conversation about what you think can be done with the existing buildings in your community. Please drop us a line at the below email address to share your examples or ideas. re



trends, innovations and ideas

Within the first month of opening, new library membership jumped 23 per cent.

BIG BOXTURNED BOOKISH An abandoned store in Texas becomes the largest single-floor library



Did you hear the one about the abandoned Walmart store that was repurposed as a library? It’s no joke. After a store in McAllen, Texas closed, a team of architects transformed the space into a funky and functional library. Minneapolis architectural firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle was responsible for the design-build, which also won the 2012 International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Competition. Boultinghouse Simpson Gates designed the exterior. The retrofitted space boasts a lounge and six computer labs just for

teens, as well as 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children’s computer labs and a pair of genealogy computer labs. Other new perks in the McAllen Public Library include an auditorium, art gallery, used bookstore, coffee shop and self-checkouts. What’s more, within the first month of opening, new users reportedly increased by a whopping 23 per cent. Spanning 124,000 square-feet, the revamped bookworm’s paradise is now the largest single-floor library in the U.S. As they say, everything’s bigger in Texas.


L.A. TOWER HITS THE REFRESH BUTTON Once the headquarters for the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), Los Angeles’ Elysian was initially designed by renowned architect William Pereira in 1961 and completed in 1973. Though the building at 1115 Sunset Boulevard has long been lauded as an aesthetic and engineering marvel, the tower had been sitting vacant for nearly 20 years, and it was in need of a reboot. When Linear City Development, a partnership of Leonard Hill and Yuval Bar-Zemer that focuses on high-density mixed-used projects, purchased that


building’s iconic architecture while adding the latest technological innovations including 240-volt EV charging stations.” The Elysian, whose rents are expected to range from $1,500 to $6,500, also features upgrades including a solar thermal system for the building’s hot water, LED lights and double-pane high-E glass throughout. The building’s pair of 1,700-squarefoot penthouses, built above the original roof of the building, are punctuated by 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows allowing spectacular views of Los Angeles.

One of just three architects to grace the cover of Time magazine (along with Frank Lloyd Wright and I.M. Pei); Pereira is acknowledged as a mid-century Modernist pioneer. His works include the TransAmerica Building in San Francisco and LAX’s central theme building. Pereira also won an Academy Award for his work on special effects in the 1941 film Reap the Wind.


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aging marvel, the Elysian’s reimagining as a 96-unit residential tower began. Flanked by Chinatown and Echo Park, and overlooking Sunset Boulevard, the tower is well placed and characterized by clean lines and wrap-around balconies. The project architect for the $30-million adaptive reuse was David Lawrence Gray, who consulted with the MWD General Counsel to recover the original plans for the building to help with the retrofit. In a press release, Linear City states that the Elysian “preserved much of the



PHOTO (VOLTAIC) FINISH IN BANFF ONE OF MANASC ISAAC’S EARLY SUSTAINABLE DESIGN PROJECTS IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES JUST GOT SLIGHTLY GREENER. Banff’s Town Hall was designed by Manasc Isaac and Sturgess Architecture in 1996, pre-LEED certification, but was crafted to C 2000 standards – the first of its kind in Alberta. Last year, the building got a sustainable boost with the advent of 72 solar panels to its roof, making it the most extensive photovoltaic panel installation in the whole Bow Valley. Chad Townsend, the town’s environmental coordinator, predicts the system developed by Calgary’s SkyFire Energy will save roughly 11 tonnes in CO2 emissions annually, as compared to electricity generated by fossil fuels. The panel setup is expected to generate about 17,109 killowatts per year, the equivalent to what three households use in that time. A monitor in the Town Hall lobby will show real-time energy readings of emissions saved, electricity generated and equivalent uses.




IT WEATHERED TWO EARTHQUAKES AND A GREAT FIRE AND NOW IT HAS ALSO SURVIVED A RETROFIT. San Francisco’s historic Flood Building – which was built in 1904 at the corner of Powell and Market Streets for a cost of $1.5 million by James L. Flood – was once the largest building in the northern California city. Carbon Lighthouse was behind the revamp, which is expected to save at least $1 million in energy costs over the next 12 to 15 years. The building improvements included installing a computerized central management system; incorporating an improved HVAC system; and replacing and updating the building’s lighting. “In addition to saving our tenants money on their utility bills, this project makes a significant dent in our building’s carbon footprint,” says building owner, Jim Flood – grandson of James L. Flood – in a press release. “Carbon Lighthouse’s work aligned with our mission to preserve the integrity of this historic space while modernizing our operations as much as possible. Even better, the project was smooth and stealthy, and posed no disruption to the day to day business of our tenants.” The 12-storey Flood Building spans 300,000 square-feet and counts flagship stores for The Gap, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie among its 350 commercial and retail tenants. PHOTOS COURTESY THE TOWN OF BANFF / WIKICOMMONS - JOE MABEL

COUNTERCULTURE BLUE JEANS A husband-and-wife team in Lincoln, Nebraska hopes to find a second life for that favourite pair of comfortable jeans everyone has kicking around their closet: countertops. Appropriately dubbing their upand-coming product Denimite, Jen Carlson and Josh Shear of Iris Industries launched a Kickstarter campaign last fall and reached their $10,000 goal in a matter of days, thanks to nearly 100 backers from Nebraska to the Philippines. Along with the recycled jeans, Denimite is made of partially biobased thermoset resin, which con-

tains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), compounds shown to have adverse effects on human health. Carlson and Shear report that the material is lightweight, water impervious, and due to the way the denim fibres are distributed, boasts mechanical strength in every direction. Because denim is a key ingredient, the materials are cheap and plentiful; plus the finished product has a cool, blue-jeans look. There are myriad potential uses for the material, although Carlson and Shear say it’s best suited for things like countertops, panels, furniture, automobile parts, and consumer goods.

DOLLARS AND SENSE OF GOING GREEN A study by the CoStar Group of 1,300 buildings found that LEED-certified buildings can ask rent premiums of $11.24-per-square-foot over conventional building counterparts and have a 3.8 per cent higher occupancy rate. LEEDcertified buildings also sell for an extra $171 per square foot on average.

If half of all new commercial buildings were built to use 50 per cent less energy, it would save more than six million metric tons of CO2 and be the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road.

Buildings consume

70 per cent of the electricity load in the U.S.

Deep retrofits are estimated to add $3 to $30 per square foot to an office space’s value.

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council and Carbon War Room Research Report



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Calgarians may recognize the name Cam Dobranski from his tenure as chef and proprietor at Winebar Kensington and Brasserie. These days you may see him on social media tweeting about his latest concoction: Container Bar, which tweets updates and opening hours for the remaining days of autumn. Dobranski told the Calgary Herald back in July his plans to craft a patio hangout next to his businesses was fuelled by a desire to clean up an unused alley and provide some relief for an outdoor space crunch in the trendy northwest neighbourhood. He helped build the tables from repurposed wood claimed from old pallets, while church pews and school chairs make up the space’s seating. A walk-up bar is made from, as the name would suggest, a modified three-metre-square shipping container. Follow Container Bar, which opened in July, on Twitter at @Container_Bar. re


leading edge

MODERNIST MUSINGS The Encana Centre is among a generation of structures in Calgary’s core begging for a refresh By Richard Isaac




s a reimaginer, one learns to see possibility everywhere. Walking through a city like Calgary, with a downtown core full of aging building stock, several stand out as striking examples of structures in need of reimagining. Some of them offer such unique and transformative possibilities that I can’t help but bring the idea of them home and doodle what a renovation might look like, just to flex my muscles. One that strikes me every time I see it is the Encana Centre, a 20-storey 1970s building located in Calgary’s city core. Sitting on a twostorey podium, the diamond shaped building stands out, sharp-bowed and thrusting eastward like some sort of ship of commerce. Although the tower plan shape is interesting, the facade itself is challenging. Each floor and each facade face repeats itself, and the building makes no differentiation between the six directions it faces. Although this delivers an elegant appearance aligned with the values of modernist architecture, it undoubtedly causes some discomfort for the building occupants.You see, those who have workspaces

facing north will probably be comfortable, benefitting from steady daylight and no solar heat gain. But if a person works somewhere on the south or the west sides, both glare and heat gain is likely a challenge for them. I snapped a photograph of the building and brought it back to my Edmonton studio, where I conceptualized a hypothetical solution to Encana Centre’s facade dilemma. A client did not commission this, but I was interested in creating a design solution for the tower, as an example of what an average office tower could do. To create both an aesthetically and environmentally better tower, I propose that each face be treated differently, depending upon which direction (north, east, south or west) it faces. I admit I am a fan of avant-garde design solutions (those that push the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or status quo), and undertook a drawing that articulates a visually striking and dynamic answer to the Encana Centre’s facade treatment. This design proposes the addition of brightly-coloured shading devices, which serve multiple purposes. First, they improve the comfort of

occupants, adding shading where necessary (on the south and west sides), as well as stimulating colour to revitalize the building and urban streetscape as a whole. Crafted from frittered glass, this facade treatment is an elegant design solution that achieves multiple successes with one installation. In the photo above to the left, you are looking at the west facing elevation. The south facade is to the right. This south-facing glazing has been given projecting, which acts as a horizontal blocker against the sun. Not just for appearance, the sun-shading devices maintain occupant comfort, modulating heat and light when the south sun is high in the sky. This treatment would not be effective on the west side of the building where the sun is low in the sky. I propose installing vertical shading elements for this side of the building facade. Certainly, one could also add plain sunshades to the

building that would align with the neutral tones of the existing facade, but recent technology allows us to add colour to the shaders, breathing new life into the Encana Centre and making it sparkle on the street. Doesn’t this building look like a 21stcentury wonder with the addition of rainbow hues? Perhaps the best news is that this reimagine exercise would be relatively lowcost. After all, my suggested updates don’t require any changes to the building’s exterior envelope or windows. It’s difficult to accurately assess cost without an invitation from the client to examine the building, but I would speculate that my suggested transformation of the Encana Centre could be achieved for about $5 million – a bargain price to revitalize the urban landscape, improve the comfort of tenants and add value to an asset. re PHOTOS COURTESY MANASC ISAAC

ask an architect

THE ENERGY OF MATERIALS energy that has already been put in place with the materials used in the construction of that structure. Materials should be evaluated for their embodied energy as this helps make more sustainable choices. For example, the embodied energy of wood (2.5 megajoules per kilogram) is almost an order of a magnitude less than that of steel (32 megajoules per kilogram). This is due to the extremely high amount of energy it takes to run a steel foundry and process raw iron ore into steel. Wood, on the other hand, is relatively simple to harvest and mill down into usable products. Therefore, choosing a wood structure for smaller buildings would be a less energy-intensive choice and also has the added benefit of being a carbon-sink, as wood which is left intact sequesters carbon within its fibres. That’s not to say that wood is always the best choice – steel and concrete are appropriate for larger buildings, due to their increased structural capacity and robustness. One must also weigh the longevity of materials and their durability in selecting the right material. Existing buildings are important for their embodied energy in that there’s already an investment of energy and material that’s usually still good for adaptive reuse. The amount of wood, steel and concrete that can be found in existing buildings is in the millions of tonnes of material, and within this material, there is enough embodied energy that can save hundreds of megajoules of energy if this existing material is reused. The reuse of existing building materials spares the need to manufacture new materials, particularly those with large embodied energy like concrete and steel, helping to conserve raw materials, resources and energy. re Reimagine magazine sat down with Shafraaz Kaba, partner and architect at Manasc Isaac.

What is embodied energy?






Embodied Energy of Nylon Carpet







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Embodied energy is simply the total amount of energy put into the manufacture of materials that are used in the construction of buildings. For example, it’s the energy required to turn a tree into a two-by-four piece of lumber. Embodied energy is important because different materials have different amounts of energy required for their processing and manufacture. When embodied energy in materials is studied more closely, one can also see the relationship of natural resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and environmental degradation. Embodied energy is also important with existing buildings because we need to account for the vast amount of



what’s trending

GOOD AS GOLD Seeking LEED status for existing buildings is gaining steam with building owners and tenants




or a leasing agent or building owner, there is a case to be made for sustainable buildings, and nobody knows that better than the folks responsible for the first LEED-EB Gold building in Edmonton. Sun Life Place may have been built in 1978, but a series of improvements throughout its life span have made it a model of sustainability and green operations. Most recently, it was recognized as LEED-EB Gold, but this acknowledgement from the Canada Green Building Council was a long time coming. “When we decided to go for the actual certification, most of the work had been done or was part of our normal operations as a matter of course. The incremental cost was probably about $230,000, which is about 80 cents a square-foot,” says Rod Gatenby, managing director of Real Estate Investments at Sun Life Investment Management. Graham Halsall, who consulted on the LEED certification for Sun Life Place on behalf of “greening” leader Halsall Associates, says making existing buildings

sustainable is gaining steam with building owners and tenants. “For a leasing agent, their perspective is that tenants often want to move into a LEED building. If it’s an older property, the opportunity to lease space is a little better when you say, ‘We are LEED as well.’ Attracting tenants who care about green buildings or sustainability is the key leasing driver. From the landlord’s perspective, they typically respect tenants who have respect for building systems, even something as simple as turning lights and computers off at the end of the day.” Because LEED-EB focuses more on a building’s operations than design, Halsall explains, it’s actually easy to be green, just by putting some saving measures in place. In the case of Sun Life Place, chillers were upgraded and automated, 95 per cent of lights were replaced with low-Mercury types and water use was tempered by lowflow fixtures and sub-meters. The payoff was palpable. “We just looked at the year following completion and our utility costs were down about 25 cents a foot compared to 2013,” says Gatenby, noting

water consumption declined by 30 per cent since implementing the changes. Energy was a large saving point. “This building has an Energy Star rating of 83, which means it’s in the 83rd percentile of comparable buildings on a national basis. We are using about 35 per cent less energy in that building than the national median,” says Gatenby. “We went ahead and purchased about 50 per cent of our energy from renewable sources, which obviously reduces our greenhouse gas emissions. We put in energy efficient retrofitted chillers prior to going for certification, and we also updated the boilers, so we are looking at about 30,000 kilowatt hours per year in savings.”

“We made the decision a number of years ago to do whatever we could to own and manage buildings that had an excellent environmental profile.” -Philip Gillin, of Sun LIfe Investment Management

• LEED, or leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of highperformance green buildings. • LEED rating systems encourage and accelerate the global adoption of sustainable green building practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. • LEED Canada EB: O&M certification differs from other LEED classifications in that it focuses on the operations and maintenance phase of the building instead of the construction phase. Under this rating system buildings must file for recertification at least once every five years to maintain their LEED Canada EB: O&M status. • LEED certified buildings meet the highest environmental performance standards in Canada. • There are currently 3,600 registered LEED projects and 2,000 registered homes in the country, accounting for 500 million squarefeet, including registered and certified buildings since 2004. • In addition to lower operating costs, green buildings can offer healthier environments, produce less waste, use less water, and help reach commitments to reduce carbon footprints. • LEED-certified buildings can be found in most sectors, including single-family homes, schools, retail, hotels, hospitals, public safety, government and commercial and industrial buildings. • LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five areas: - Sustainable site development - Water efficiency - Energy efficiency - Materials selection SOURCE: THE CANADA - Indoor environmental quality GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

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Also part of the plan was incorporating a recycling program – diverting 100 per cent of durable goods and 50 per cent of consumables from the landfill – and encouraging tenants to take the LRT from the nearby Churchill station, says Gatenby. “We did surveys to try and increase use of public transit, and over 50 per cent of our occupants are using alternative transportation.” Philip Gillin, senior managing director and portfolio manager, Canadian Property Investments at Sun Life Investment Management, says it all comes back to the company culture and market demands. “We made the decision a number of years ago to do whatever we could to own and manage buildings that had an excellent environmental profile. We challenged our property managers to get involved in that with us and also our tenants. We see sustainable real estate as being a key element of our environmental program within the company and that’s a key element of our sustainability strategy.” re




A makeover of Calgary’s 1800 breathes new vitality into an entire Mission block By Jen Janzen Photos by BOOKSTRUCKER




While the 1800 building escaped flood damage, its exterior was in need of a serious reimagining, with its run-down facade that resembled an aging strip mall.

s the city of Calgary emerged from the devastation of the 2013 flooding, as debris was cleaned up, electricity restored, and as life once again bustled in the downtown core, it was fitting that the first post-flood development permit the city issued would also facilitate another transformation. The project: redeveloping the 1800 building, a mixed-use structure named for its address (1800 - Fourth St. S.W.). The building is located in the Mission area, south of the downtown core, which was among the places in the city hardest-hit by flood damage. Thanks to its higher elevation, the 1800 building hadn’t been harmed in the flood. The ground level of the building features several retail rental units, and office spaces fill the floors above, crowned by several floors housing 100 apartment units. Strategic Group, a Calgarybased real estate development and property management firm, purchased 1800 – then known as Hillsboro Tower – in 2010. Randy Ferguson, Strategic’s chief operating officer, concedes the original tower wasn’t much to look at. “You would see this tall parking structure, then you’d see a rather dilapidated facade to the south,” he says. Though the building’s interior was also in need of an update, Ferguson says the exterior was the most urgently warranted fix. The dated brown-and-beige facade edging the retail spaces made the property resemble a run-down strip mall more than a proud member of the up-and-coming Mission district. “Passersby who don’t have a reason to enter the building won’t see the inside, but the entire community sees the exterior. It was dilapidated and uninviting,” Ferguson says. But the leadership team at Strategic Group wasn’t put off by the building’s lacklustre veneer. With the stated objective of “creating value others can’t by seeing what others don’t,” Strategic found the 1800 project a perfect fit. “Our company plan around the acquisition of properties is to redevelop, repurpose and re-use – to bring properties up to today’s standards in terms of how they appear and how they fit into the neighbourhood, to modernize and make our environments more pleasant so our tenants and customers have a better experience in our buildings,” Ferguson says. > winter 2015



ith Manasc Isaac Architects’ help, Strategic Group developed a new vision for 1800, transforming the colourless eyesore into a winsome monument for the Mission neighbourhood. The parking garage is clad in metal mesh, which lends texture and dimension and creates a sense of continuity with the rest of the retail space. Enter designer Claire Johnson of Manasc Isaac, who says the vision for the property was to bring an element of cohesion to the building’s various constituents. “The concept of the design is to pull the building together and emphasize the corner, drawing people in and creating a landmark,” Johnson explains. Ferguson says that the exterior work didn’t only benefit the building’s appearance; it also boosted 1800’s overall efficiency. “When buildings get of a certain age, they begin to have air leaks that your mechanical systems must compensate for. By replacing things like the facade and the retail storefronts, we made the building much more efficient,” Ferguson says. Refreshing older buildings is a more sustainable approach than tearing down and building new ones. “We have a large existing building stock and it is not sustainable environmentally nor economically to keep building new and discarding the old,” Johnson says. “You can achieve large energy savings and dramatically decrease running costs by focusing on both the building skin and system together, plus there is the immense satisfaction of the before-and-after comparison, from an aesthetic point of view as well as quality of the indoor environment.” Along with its reworked exterior, the building now also boasts a renovated interior, with new HVAC systems and occupancy sensors that save electricity by turning on only when needed. The residential units were re-done as well; as tenants moved out of the building, vacant units were ripped apart – right down to the original concrete structure – and rebuilt. “By the time we were finished it was a brand new apartment,” Ferguson says. The offices got the same treatment. Upon being vacated, they were torn down to the concrete and redone. Except, Ferguson notes,



for those whose tenants who decided to stay in place and work through the renovations. “We’ll renovate those offices when they’re empty, but we’d just as soon the tenants stay 100 more years,” Ferguson says with a laugh. For the building’s retail clients on the other hand, it was business as usual through the construction process. This prompted the question: how do you completely transform a structure while making sure retail customers and building tenants still have access to it? Very carefully, says Ferguson, noting, “It created another element of complexity.” Aware of the need to minimize disruption to 1800’s tenants, the Manasc Isaac team developed a detailed schedule listing all facets of the project: from when materials were to be delivered to when


(Top) What the building looked like before being reimagined. Aware of the need to minimize disruption to tenants, the design and construction team developed a detailed schedule for 1800.

“You would see this tall parking structure, then you’d see a rather dilapidated facade to the south.” -Randy Ferguson, Strategic Group’s chief operating officer

there could be work going on, all balanced against the staggered hours of the various businesses operating from the building. The interim result was that businesses that could still operate and the renovation schedule continued without delays. “Front-end planning is the greatest risk mitigator,” Ferguson says. One of the aspects of the 1800 reimagining that stands out for Johnson was the relative absence of construction waste. The facade was built in collaboration with Calgary-based Ferguson Glass and the framing and glazing design could be custom-made to work with the sizes of the material available. “So whilst maintaining the intent, we saved a significant amount of material from the landfill, as well as keeping the costs down for the owner,” says Johnson. It’s the new mesh-lined parking garage that stands out the most in Ferguson’s mind, partly because, in the old space, the garage was one of the building’s most obvious aesthetic problems. “The building was craving a consistent look that spoke to a parkade, retail space and an office all together. We struck a balance in terms of material. The selection of mesh mutes how that structure loomed off the site,” he said. The final phase of the project finished up this past September, so there hasn’t been enough time to say how much more energy efficient 1800 is post-reimagining, but

Ferguson knows it’s already positively contributed to the neighbourhood. “We’ve had a great many compliments from all of the constituents involved,” Ferguson says, emphasizing that the refreshing, urban feel of the new exterior has a more enduring design than the original 1970s version. “We wanted to create a design that is more or less timeless so you can look at it today and enjoy it today, and keep enjoying it 10 years from now. This is what Manasc Isaac accomplished for us. They did an outstanding job of creating something we can be proud of.” For Johnson, the success of the project can be summarized by the way it’s now classified by other Calgarians: “It’s no longer the car park on 18th Avenue and Fourth Street, but ‘the cool building with the green stripe.’ ” re

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From chatter space to collaborative hubs, offices and learning venues have evolved from the contained cubes of the past


someone else. But perhaps the most important consideration in a preliminary scan is whether or not existing walls can be maintained. “At the end of the day, the layout has to work well. If an office’s old design doesn’t fit the workflow of your people, the space needs to be reconfigured. It’s the bones of the project.” So, whose input helps guide the design process? Everyone in the organization should be at the table to create the new space. “It has to be everyone – from the janitor to the CEO. It’s not just about empowering everybody, but it’s about understanding how everyone works, every day. By getting to know everyone’s individual workflow, we can really maximize the space.” Although inviting the whole team to participate in design charrettes and workshops may look like an additional investment on the surface, designers argue that it will save time in the long run. “This is part of lean design. Building the space around people’s workflow gets you away from cubicle farms. Plus, it gets everyone engaged and invested in the project.”


oday, everyone is questioning the typical office layout. While many people accept that cubicles, phones, fluorescent lights and water coolers are just how offices are, there is a growing debate as to whether this is good for people or even the bottom line. Technological developments have changed the way people work. Telecommuting, the Internet and collaborative tools such as Skype challenge traditional office design. “Old-fashioned office concepts don’t work very well in today’s world,” Gurevitch says. “If someone is working from home or a coffee shop, or if they are out of the office a lot of the time, why should there always be an empty cubicle with their name on it at the office? It’s not an efficient use of space, and it doesn’t do the employee or the business any favours. So we say, ‘Let’s look at what people actually do on a given day.’ ” Activity-based working (ABW) has become a raison d’être for reimagine interiors projects. It has revolutionized the way designers at Manasc Isaac approach office design. “It’s basically about designing spaces around the functions that people use them for,” she notes. The team learned this lesson quickly working on Alberta Museums Association (AMA), who >

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hen Lindsay Gurevitch walks into a room, she sees it though a different lens then most. Working for Edmonton architectural firm Manasc Isaac taught Gurevitch to focus on sustainable design approaches on cutting-edge projects. A long history in sustainable building has earned the studio many “firsts” – even pioneering the first-ever LEEDcertified building in Alberta and ushering in a new era of green design. The interior designer took full advantage of the sustainable design experience offered by Manasc Isaac, cultivating a keen sense of possibility and frugality in a design approach specifically tailored to workplace environments. This approach led to the creation of Reimagine Interiors by Manasc Isaac, a Calgary studio dedicated to transforming the city’s interior landscape. “There hasn’t been a major shift in office design since the modern cubicle-and-water-cooler system was invented,” says Gurevitch. “We know that there are better ways to design a space. People work better in spaces that are designed for them, and tailored for what they do every day. It sounds so simple, but designing a good office does require you to shift your perspective and think outside of the box.” A reimagined interior is one that’s thoughtfully and thoroughly considered, taking advantage of knowledge about the work being done in the space, and leveraging all inherent and existing benefits including existing finishes, furniture and natural light. Each reimagine project begins the same way. “The first thing I look at when I walk into a space to be reimagined is windows. How much light is in here?” Gurevitch says. Windows are a fundamental component of a reimagined project. They offer natural light, which results in energy savings for the building and healthier and happier occupants. Whether or not windows are operable also influences the sustainability and comfort of a space; fresh air is widely recognized as a benefit to occupant health and reduces cooling loads and energy costs during summer months. “Next, I start scanning the space for anything that might be reused or repurposed,” she says. “Is the carpet in good shape? How about light fixtures? Ceiling tiles?” She notes that items can be reused across different projects; some furniture might fit perfectly into a design that the studio is working on across the street. At worst, excess finishes and furniture can be donated to a reuse centre to benefit


The Oliver Building in Edmonton houses the offices of Manasc Isaac, whose venue has been transformed into an activity based workplace with 150 square-feet/person.



approached Manasc Isaac to reimagine its office space in 2010. The results were transformative for the organization and in the end the project reinvigorated the entire AMA team. It was among Manasc Isaac’s notable ABW experiments. Even though the term activity-based working hadn’t really been coined yet, the Alberta Museums Association was a kind of proto-activity-based working project. The “Three Cs” of space – chatter, concentration and collaboration – are at the heart of ABW. Chatter space is everyone’s favourite place to gather and bond with co-workers. This is the cliché “water-cooler” space, where team members talk about their weekend or a recent hockey game. They also offer a unique opportunity for staff to bump into people, and sometimes these collisions result in increased productivity for the office. “Happy accidents take place in the chatter space. These areas allow cross-pollination between departments to happen. Many clients have written to me saying that they love the spontaneous interactions that take place in the chatter areas,” she adds. Collaboration space is a slightly less pronounced version of a chatter space. These areas are a middle ground, places where groups can gather for focused discussions and brainstorming sessions and can include boardrooms, but more frequently represent less formal meeting areas such as staircases, kitchens and lounges. “Collaboration spaces balance comfort and inspiration with function. These are areas where you can get down to business but in a more creative and vibrant setting than a plain old boardroom.” For Alexandra Hatcher, former executive director of the AMA, the energy of the space’s collaboration areas proved a valuable asset to her entire team. “We absolutely love the spontaneous meeting areas; the reading nook and the chat bar,” says Hatcher. “People gravitate toward these informal sitting areas. The design improved both productivity and collaboration for our team.” Concentration space is the bread and butter of a traditional cubicle-style office. These quiet areas are where occupants go to hunker down and get work done, undisturbed, perhaps following an inspiring encounter in a chatter or collaboration space. “You absolutely need concentration space,” Gurevitch says, adding the reimagine approach is more about challenging the notion of one desk per person, per office. “For some organizations, having an open office with a few dedicated quiet areas works really well,” she says. In 2013 Manasc Isaac decided to walk the talk, adopting an activity-based-working design for its own Edmonton office. “We colour-coded a map of the building with the different spaces clearly labelled. This way, everyone knows where they need to be careful about noise, and where they can go to take meetings and have conversations.” The map was distributed to staff and put up in washrooms. Recently, open-concept offices have been given a bad rap in the news, but the style of workspace is slowly starting to catch on. “You can’t just open a space and expect it to work. Acoustic

The Alberta Museums Association’s reimagined office space includes several collaborative hubs for meetings.

techniques need to be used to make sure that it’s well considered for sound,” Gurevitch says. Flexibility is the order of the day in implementing an activity-based working model. By untethering occupants from dedicated desks, designers not only give staffers the freedom to collaborate when necessary, but the arrangement also reduces the bottom line for a business. “These layouts save business owners money and even allow them to make more money. First, you need less space to begin with, due to the fact that you aren’t setting aside a certain amount of square footage for every employee, at every moment.” After all, not all employees are in the office all the time. It can also cut down an organization’s footprint. Reducing the amount of square footage that you need, which saves you rent and operational costs. Second, if an employee has to move around or change departments, it’s easier to pack up and move around the office.You can basically eliminate this cost entirely by doing away with dedicated desks. Another byproduct of the approach to design is autonomy and employee satisfaction, she explains. “If your team is happy and more empowered to do their jobs effectively, the whole organization will benefit from that productivity.”



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hen Manasc Isaac asked Gurevitch to help tweak the Edmonton studio’s layout to accommodate its growing staff, hot-desking – or the idea that occupants can anchor temporarily in a different spot all the time – made sense even for some partners. Change started right at the top. Manasc Isaac’s principal Vivian Manasc, along with partner Shafraaz Kaba, gave up their desks and offices right away, opting to settle wherever there was a free desk on any given day. This flexibility speaks to Manasc Isaac’s corporate culture, and also happens to save the organization space and operational costs.

Just as something as simple as a personal choice of shoes affects first impressions, the esthetics of an office can make an immediate imprint. “When you walk into a reimagined space, you should instantly connect with and feel the organization’s corporate culture. Are they fun? Progressive? What’s their story?” asks Gurevitch. For Manasc Isaac, the transition to ABW was a worthwhile one. Nearly a year after the completion of the new office design the studio’s 60 employees have not only adjusted to the style, but they have embraced it. “I like how open it has made the office feel,” explains Manasc Isaac proposal writer Gloria Alamrew. “Even though the different spaces are clearly delineated, the office doesn’t feel ‘sectioned off ’ anymore. We have the work pods throughout the office, which everybody understands and respects as concentration space. We can put on our headphones and really focus. “My favourite spaces are the informal gathering areas like the couches by reception, or even the kitchen with its big bar table. They really invite you to chat and mingle, and that environment tends to stimulate very productive conversations,” says Alamrew. The journey wasn’t an easy one, she adds. “After the renovation, I wasn’t sure how the transition to ABW would work and like with any big change there were a few growing pains. But once the dust settled it was pretty neat to see how easily everyone settled in. It felt very intuitive.” For the Alberta Museums Association, culture is an important part of the design, too. “This design reflects where we want to go as an organization,” says Hatcher. “We’re open, vibrant and thinking about the future.” The best reimagined interiors require considerable thought, as well as buy-in from the entire organization, not to mention careful attention to the unique workflows of each employee, says Gurevitch. “A successful interior is one that’s designed around two things: the people and the brand.” re


Dowdy in Denver Reinventing an office building in the Golden Triangle has made the area more inviting BY JEN JANZEN



You’d never know that the Cesar Chavez Memorial Building was once known as downtown Denver’s ugliest building. A dark green postage stamp of a structure with an equally plain parkade on the street to its north, it made for a drab gateway into Denver’s Golden Triangle neighbourhood, where arts and culture institutions mingle with office buildings and residences.

Now, as you enter the Golden Triangle district, you’re greeted by a 10-storey marvel of sustainability: a re-skinned, LEED Goldcertified aluminum and glass-cladded structure with a 33 per cent reduction in energy use. And, filled as it is with natural light from the boost in window coverage (the windows are now six feet high, up from four-and-a-half feet in the building’s previous incarnation), not to mention a completely renovated interior, it’s also a more pleasant place to be for its nearly 300 federal employees. “It’s a great-looking building,” says Scott Miller, senior project manager at GE Johnson, the construction company that won the design-build contract for the project. “When

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you see the before and after, you can’t believe it.” Owned by the General Services Administration (GSA), the Cesar Chavez Memorial Building houses five federal agencies and a daycare. The 180,000-square-foot structure was built in 1982 and it was clearly time for a change. The metal panels surrounding the building were starting to look worn. “They were all fading in various places depending on how the sun hit them,” Miller explains – and the seven-storey, 290-car parkade was showing structural deficiencies. The project was designed by Tryba Architects, a Denver-based firm that specializes in shaping – and reshaping – urban spaces. Tryba worked with GE Johnson to develop the energy-saving facade of the Cesar Chavez building, using various solar studies and simulations to ensure that, despite the generous amount of sunlight pouring through the windows, there would be minimal heat gain in the building. There’s also minimal heat loss in the winter, thanks to the high-efficiency glazing on the glass. The building envelope is designed to last for 75 years. Other energysaving upgrades include a new HVAC system >


Construction of the Cesar Chavez Memorial Building took nearly three years but resulted in a LEED-Gold certification for the building.



and a lighting system with daylight harvesting and occupancy sensors to ensure that energy isn’t wasted on an unoccupied building. The elevators were also replaced with a high-tech, high-efficiency model. Local materials were used whenever possible, including Colorado Yule marble, recycled steel and a terrazzo floor in the lobby that credits 50 per cent of its contents to the recycled beer bottles of local breweries. The team also made a conscious effort to recycle construction waste, with 83 per cent being diverted from landfills. Construction started in April 2010 and wrapped up in February 2013. The structurally deficient parkade was first on the list. It was demolished very carefully, says Miller, pointing out that it stood just five-and-a-half inches from an existing building. The top floor of the improved, structurally sound version features a solar sculpture that pumps 115 kilowatts of electricity a year into the office building across the street, providing five per cent of its total energy needs. GE Johnson is no stranger to environmentally friendly building projects. The company’s website explains that “sustainability experts” work in all facets of the organization to help GE Johnson reach its goal of continuously reducing the environmental footprint of its projects. With a number of LEED-certified projects under its belt, GE Johnson was a good fit for the GSA’s requirement that the completed Cesar Chavez renovations make the building eligible for a LEED Gold certification. “We were required to meet Silver, but delivered Gold for no additional cost,” says Miller.


Local materials were used whenever possible, including Colorado Yule marble, recycled steel, and a terrazzo floor in the lobby that credits 50 per cent of its contents to the recycled beer bottles of local breweries. panels and installed the new glass and aluminum curtainwall. The Golden Triangle is one of Denver’s oldest areas and construction crews in that area regularly find early-1900s mementos like horseshoes and bottles. Other buildings had come and gone before the Cesar Chavez structure was created, including row homes and the original site of Denver Public School’s book depository. During one phase of the construction project, when the team expanded the lobby by 25 feet to engulf the original colonnade and dig new foundations, the crew uncovered some old china sets. “Some of them were in very good shape,” Miller recalls. “They were just buried from years of excavation and backfill.” This modernization, or reimagining of the building, inspired urban revitalization. Thanks to a number of other construction projects since the Cesar Chavez Memorial Building was reinvented, the entire block is a lot more welcoming. “What once was an overlooked building now takes advantage of integrating a pedestrian-friendly and realigned Fox Street, landscaping, public art and a hardscaped entry plaza,” writes the GSA in a press release about the building. “The result is that the Chavez Building no longer sits in isolation at the end of the block, but rather serves as a gateway building into Denver’s Civic and Justice Center and the Golden Triangle Neighborhood.” Looking back on the project, Miller says he’s still proud of the way the team collaborated to keep employees productive and on site even while the building was being totally redone. “Owners are always looking at ways to upgrade their building without displacing tenants. We’ve figured it out; we know how to do it.” re

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The company may have been familiar with the world of sustainable building practices, but GE Johnson had never worked on such an extensive renovation while the tenants remained in the building. In many cases, property owners simply move tenants to a temporary location, but in the GSA’s case, rather than find offices for about 290 people, move all the furniture to the temporary location and then back again, it was more efficient to simply work around the employees. The challenge of safely working around employees also turned into one of the company’s biggest success stories. Miller and his team worked closely with the GSA, planning the project in phases, mapping out which people were going to move where and for how long. They determined which parts of the building were “swing spaces”; meaning workers could be temporarily placed in those areas while major renovations took place on their home floors. The team at GE Johnson also developed a solution for employees who wanted to stay in their offices while the exterior was being torn down and rebuilt: all the staff had to sacrifice was three feet of their floor space. A temporary weatherproof barrier wall was set up to separate office staff from the work that was being done on the building’s exterior. “It allowed us to work outside with all the safety precautions in place, with the tenant just on the other side of that wall,” Miller says. Most of the interior renovations took place by a night shift crew. The workers would show up at 6 p.m. and work until 4:30 a.m., taking out ceilings, replacing HVAC units and lighting fixtures and installing new carpet, then cleaning up all traces of their work so GSA employees could use it during the day. The team installed a temporary daycare on the main floor with a barrier wall, temporary bathroom and handwashing sinks and security so the daycare program could be maintained without a hitch while the construction crew developed a new space. During the day, the team’s focus shifted from inside the building to outside, where they finished taking down the dreary metal




Sprucing up The Avenue A downtown Winnipeg eyesore goes from blight to delight By Nadia Moharib

THE BIRDS HAD BRAINS. BUT AFTER TAKING UP residence in two turn-of-the-century, derelict buildings for years, they were unceremoniously evicted when deeper-thinkers had designs on their mothballed downtown digs. Today, The Avenue on Portage houses birds of a different feather – in 75 apartment units for tenants and a 22,500-square-foot ground-level commercial space that’s occupied by Manitoba Start, a non-profit organization serving new immigrants to Winnipeg. Colin Neufeld, with 5468796 Architecture and the project’s principal, is proud of the final product lauded by many as an architectural icon, a striking addition to the city’s centre. But he concedes it took looking with some imagination at the boarded-up Avenue and Hample buildings – now a single entity – to make it happen. “Essentially, we had to walk through the building with hazmat suits,” he recalls of his introduction to the project. “You literally were knee-deep in pigeon droppings.” The firm was approached in 2010 by a developer looking for someone to reimagine the buildings, to breathe new life into the city-owned structures that had survived the wrecker’s ball numerous times. “We thought it was a great project, a great location and a building that really needed some excitement,” Neufeld says. “I’m certainly proud to be part of it.” After structural remediation to make the buildings safe, crews then went about renovating the interior, removing partitions, elevators and staircases. While the three-storey Hample building was built “like a bomb shelter,” its wood-framed neighbour, with all six of its floors, was in need of extreme upgrading. > winter 2015



Rick Hofer with Hofer Construction,



shortly after completing a successful 43-unit warehouse refurbishment nearby with Neufeld, was approached by the city, asking if his company would be interested in refurbishing – an understatement, to be sure – the sad and decrepit Portage Avenue buildings. “At first, we didn’t even want to think about it,” Hofer says. “It looked 10 times worse than the building we had just done. It was just in such a state of disrepair.” He decided to give it a second look, and soon Neufeld and company were on board. Hofer bought into the lofty vision to transform the buildings, which had become a blight on the city centre, but it took some time. “Everybody thought I was crazy,” he says. “I always thought, ‘Let’s just see how the building is. If we rip it apart and we still ended up with good bones, then it’s a go.’ If you have a good building, if that’s the case, then it’s off to the races; you already have the property, the foundation and the walls.” Hofer says the job was challenging from the start. “It had OK bones but we had to fix the bones,” he says. “Let’s put it this way: we had to use a lot of casts and splints.” At one time, Portage Avenue had many mixed-use buildings that were abandoned due to urban sprawl. But over recent years, Winnipeg’s downtown has seen quite the transformation, says Stefano Grande, executive director for Downtown Winnipeg Biz. With millions of dollars in public-sector cash flowing into developing housing on the nearby waterfront, there has also been the influx of restaurants, hotels, post-secondary campuses and the MTS Centre, home of the Winnipeg Jets and a popular concert venue. With an influx of about 4,000 residents in recent years, there are now about 16,000 people living downtown, Grande says, noting The Avenue on Portage is simply another success story. “The Avenue building has been in the dark for about 15 years,” Grande says, clearly thrilled with its newest incarnation. “If there was ever a silver bullet to revitalize downtown, it is people living downtown who, in turn, spend money downtown and are extra eyes and ears on the streets.” The project is not only a coup for downtown development, but it is also philosophically pleasing, by repurposing buildings that have housed everything from billiards to bowling lanes, a kung fu school and retail in the past. “We have a good mix of old and new,” Grande explains. “Preserving our history and celebrating contemporary architecture – it’s one of those buildings tourists will take photos of.” He appreciates the building and its original brick exterior, rooftop patio garden, beautiful original marble staircase and unique balconies, which showcase the new life within and extending from the building. “You see it when you have the Christmas parade and all the residents

Suites in The Avenue boast 11-foot ceilings and large windows and range from 400 to 1,100 square-feet.

come out on the balconies – that’s what we want to see, people enjoying the urban environment downtown,” Grande says. “It’s a very contemporary feel.” While stellar on its own, the project also contributes to the core’s vibrancy. “It’s dramatically different than it was 20 years ago,” he says of the downtown. “It’s not a boom like in Calgary or Vancouver but we are a very stable market and there has been steady growth.” Neufeld says the last 15 years have been “transformative to the downtown” and he is pleased this project could help in that continued evolution. “It needed an adventurous spirit; it was a project that needed someone who could see past the building’s derelict past,” he says. “We are young and stupid and optimists and believed it could easily be a great building.” Neufeld says the buildings’ reimagining was beneficial in many ways. First, it’s an environmental win, given the project diverted building material from the landfill, and second, there’s the significant salvaging of Winnipeg’s history. “It’s important to save it from the perspective it’s from the turn of the century, on one of the most famous streets, two blocks from Portage and Main and has been there for the last hundred years,” he says. “They were nothing terribly sexy, just office buildings but in their heyday probably occupied 80,000 square-feet of commercial office space in downtown Winnipeg,” he says. “They are part of our fabric. And our city is dying for residential development in its core.” The positive impact of the retrofit on its surroundings is undeniable. “It’s a block away from the arena where the Jets play, having this residential infill says we are not a vacant city,” says Neufeld. “It was an empty building for a decade – that sends the wrong message. Everybody knew it was full of

















facades, and a de facto safeguard against potential ice and snow falling from balconies above. “The city has given you this building and given you money to develop, so you have to give the city something,” Neufeld says of the budget constraints. “They really wanted it to be an important piece on an important street – not just a building which made money for the owner. They were game, but said, ‘You only have this much money,’ ” Neufeld says. “There wasn’t an open chequebook. It got built for $12 million; that’s where the love comes in.” Hofer says the project probably spearheaded a lot of future downtown reconstruction. “Nobody believed it would work. Numerous architects have tried and it just didn’t work either due to a lack of money or expertise. It needed someone with this crazy vision,” he says. “All of a sudden it’s an iconic building from a building that was empty for 11 years. It has numerous awards from architects and peers. To take a building like that and turn it around – it’s awesome to actually see people in it. That was our vision,” Hofer explains. He also says there was somewhat of a “spiritual” approach behind the reimagining. “I believed it should have been torn down; you walked through that place and all you saw was mould,” he says. “What really inspired us is we met a fellow about a quarter of the way through construction who intended to buy the Avenue building. He believed in it,” he says, adding the man hesitated to do so due to a lack of parking. As it happened, the buildings had enough frontage for a ramp to allow for 38 parking stalls, Hofer says. The project, although created with passion, was hardly a getrich-quick venture. “I only got my wages,” says Hofer, who owns the building with his partners, adding, “I am making my money now.” re

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pigeons and parties and to overcome that we thought it needed a big statement – to give it a complete makeover.” That statement seemed to work, given the tenants flocking to the building’s suites, which range from 400 to 1,000 square-feet, one block west of Winnipeg’s most famous corner: Portage and Main. The building now features a salvaged staircase, punctuated by marble and a wrought iron railing and skylight at the top – in an O-shape so that someone looking over the railing on the ground floor can see all the way up to the top floor. Inside boasts 11-foot ceilings and big windows, while the exterior is painted a dark grey over original brick. The balconies incorporate the old building with the new – the idea being to push out from the inside and announce “new life” to the city. Balconies of different sizes are randomly scattered along the face of the building, built through the original openings. “They represent the heritage projecting out of existing openings, so that’s pretty cool,” Neufeld says. They had to apply for encroachment on city property but there was “significant public encouragement,” Neufeld says. “We probably encountered less opposition than we would have if we were just proposing other developments. There was an appetite to work with us.” Of course, given Winnipeg’s notorious winters, one safety concern was the snow and ice falling to the street below – easily eliminated by construction and design of the balconies which have transparent steel grated floors preventing any buildup. The mirror-finish aluminum south-facing canopy angles outward 13 feet from the face of the Hample side before returning to meet the edge of the Avenue. The effect is a unity of the two PHOTO/RENDERINGS COURTESY 5468796 ARCHITECTURE



The construction process, seen here through a series of sketches, was multi-faceted.





STATE OF THE EMPIRE The Big Apple’s best-known landmark soars as a deep energy retrofit leader By Matt Beauchamp



ON MAY 1, 1931, PRESIDENT HOOVER OFFICIALLY DEDICATED THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING. Hailed as one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Empire State Building is not only an American treasure but a feat of engineering to marvel the world over. It stood for 41 years as the world’s tallest skyscraper and, while it may no longer hold the record, it still stands as an iconic piece of the New York skyline. Back in 1931, the term “deep energy retrofits” didn’t exist. In fact even as recently as five years ago the term was unknown. Now in 2014 there is a booming industry around it, with architects and engineers collaborating with property managers to develop ideas that allow building renovations to go deeper and provide greater energy efficiencies with more cost savings.

“Deep energy retrofits” is a term coined by the Rocky Mountain Institute to describe a whole-building analysis and constructive process that uses integrative design to achieve much larger energy savings than conventional energy retrofits. The Empire State Building is a shining example of what deep energy retrofits can achieve and it is, once again an icon forging the way into a new area. “I think the Empire State Building is the leading example for many reasons,” says Dana Schneider, senior vice-president of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Energy and Sustainability Services division, the firm with whom the Empire State Building partnered for the retrofit. “We were one of the first projects and still one of the best examples that went through an intensive analysis. We conducted a holistic, quantitative analysis for all the options that would work best then we developed a replicable process that we shared.” >

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It is that openness and continued education that Schneider says is one of the main reasons the Empire State Building is a leader in the deep energy retrofit field. “It’s all posted on our website, it’s all open book, not proprietary, for others to use. Our whole motivation there was to inspire others to replicate what we did,” says Schneider. “We were using this entire project to develop the ideal process in an attempt to show that there is a business case for deep energy retrofits and inspire others to follow suit and do the same in their buildings.” Schneider adds that the education process is ongoing and a point of pride for those that work at the Empire State Building. “I don’t know any other building that has gone through a process and given away all of their tools and all of their results,” he notes. “We guest lecture, we speak at panels, in an attempt to educate other building owners and occupiers about how great the business case is and how much difference we can make in overall energy usage by doing this and the fact that it completely makes business sense as well.” And businesses are beginning to listen, due in large part to the results the Empire State Building has managed to achieve. Since 2012 the “deep energy retrofit” program has generated a total of approximately $7.5 million in energy savings and, over the next 15 years, will keep more than 105,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. “All portfolio managers and real estate owners to some extent have been concerned with energy efficiency, and they’ve done small things,” says Clay Nesler, vice-president of Global Energy and Sustainability for Johnson Controls. “What this project is going to show is that it actually makes sense to make large and significant energy efficiency improvements, not the five to 10 per cent type things, but the 20 to 30 per cent and more type of improvements, and that there is a business case for doing so.” The remanufacturing of the Empire State Building’s 6,514 windows is perhaps the most innovative undertaking in this retrofit. This step was completed in 2010 and saw the change of the building’s original windows into “super windows.” This cut winter heat loss by at least two-thirds and summer heat gain by half. The advanced

glazing, along with improved lighting and office equipment, will further cut the building’s peak cooling load by one-third. Replacing windows and glass units with new ones is one of the strategies that differentiate “deep energy retrofits” from more conventional building renovations. The result is that the building’s old chiller plant can simply be renovated instead of replaced and expanded, saving more than $17 million of budgeted capital expenditure. This will account for 38 per cent energy savings, which is several times the savings commonly achieved from a typical retrofit. A major renovation project like this couldn’t be completed without the involvement of the building’s tenants and Schneider says their buy-in to the program will help them achieve a lot of their energy reduction goals. “Nearly all our tenant spaces are scheduled for renovation over the next 10 years,” says Schneider. “We developed a section of the lease for high-performing tenant spaces and it sets forth guidelines of what we expect our tenants to do to ensure that their space is a highperforming space.” “We assist them with design reviews, design workshops, evaluations of technologies, payback analysis to incorporate these standards into their spaces. We also developed a software tool for tenants to monitor their energy usage in real time and compare their usage to other tenants in the building to give them daily recommendations on usage and inspire them that way to use less, since they pay by usage.” Anthony E. Malkin, Empire State Realty Trust chairman, president and CEO, says the PHOTOS COURTESY ESRT EMPIRE STATE BUILDING L.L.C.

(Left) The chiller plant retrofit project included the retrofit of four industrial electric chillers for the air conditioning system. (This page) The remanufacturing of the building’s 6,514 windows is the most innovative undertaking in the Empire State Building’s retrofit project and designed to maximize natural lighting.

ESB BY THE NUMBERS $550 MILLION - Total cost of retrofit $106 MILLION - Total cost of energy-related projects 6,514 - Total number of windows 105,000 - Metric tons of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere in the next 15 years 2.7 MILLION SQUARE FEET - Total size of the building 88 kBtu/square-foot pre-retrofit and 60 kBtu/square-foot projected - Annual energy use

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project is exceeding all expectations. “The Empire State Building retrofit project has dramatically exceeded projected energy savings for the third straight year, reducing costs by millions of dollars,” says Malkin. “As we continue our energy-efficient installations for incoming tenants, we are confident we will meet and exceed our completed project goal of saving $4.4 million each year. As for now, we are ahead of our projections, and that means more savings and more returns on our investments to date.” The Empire State Building retrofit is about more than just energy savings and educating current building owners; it’s also about educating the public. With more than four million visitors a year, the well-known Big Apple landmark is a huge tourist attraction. As part of the renovations, the project team took advantage of the observatory line-up space, to educate visitors on what’s being done and what they can do. “It goes through the whole design and construction process we went through and ties it into what you can do,” says Schneider. “It’s a beautiful exhibit of five or six pillars that are interactive and that are LED. They have all these displays and statistics and information about all the projects that we implemented and what it would mean if everyone in New York replicated what we did, if everyone in the U.S. replicated what we did, if everyone in the whole world replicated what we did. That really ties into our message of education and trying to move the needle and inspire others to replicate what we have done. “It’s a wonderful building and it just continues to inspire,” says Schneider. re


higher ground


There is a sound argument for revamping building facades rather than tearing them down

By Lindsay Farr




ooking around our cities, there are many existing buildings that have become outdated in their performance and technology, and no longer operate at optimal efficiency. The building facade plays an important role in this, and since tearing down existing buildings generates much waste and emissions, savvy urban planners are considering ways to retrofit them. Since the building facade acts as the barrier between the outdoor and indoor climates, it plays an important role in the overall performance of a building. Retrofitting the facade on an existing structure offers an opportunity to significantly improve the overall performance, and can allow the opportunity to explore new strategies for envelope solutions that explore new technologies and offer more effective building solutions. Existing buildings are typically static in nature, and retrofitting them allows architects to rethink the approach to creating facades that are responsive, interacting with building users, climate, light and other surrounding conditions. Designing a facade that has the ability to respond to these various factors provides an opportunity to create effi-

ciencies in the overall performance of the building. The Hanwha Solar power company saw an opportunity to do just this by retrofitting its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. As a producer of photovoltaic power, Hanwha wanted to improve its environmental impact to align with its company values around sustainability. The existing building was built in the 1980s, with 29 storeys and standing more than 127 metres tall. It offered several areas for improvement in its environmental impact, including energy consumption.The facade on a building of this scale covers a lot of surface area, and the existing one on the Hanwha headquarters was not ideal with its opaque and covered single layers of dark glass. Hanwha made a call for proposals as a design competition to retrofit the existing headquarters. The winning design was led by Ben van Berkel with UNStudio, who proposed a retrofit addressing several sustainable approaches, including energy consumption and the well-being of the building’s occupants. A significant component of the proposed redesign includes the revamp of the existing building facade. UNStudio

partnered with Arup for the design of the facade and engaged AG Licht as the lighting consultant. The design of the new facade includes individual LED lights that correspond with movement within the interior

of the building. It was important for the design to respond to the existing site conditions and fit in with its surroundings. “The design for the Hanwha HQ media facade aims to avoid an overstated impact. In the evenings, as the

Designers explored the impact of sun exposure on each elevation as part of the process.


the design process, UNStudio explored different variables that would impact the performance of the building facade. Designers explored the impact of sun exposure on each elevation of the existing site in order to determine optimal PV performance, as well as window placement. This analysis of sunlight exposure was important in understanding that the north facade had very little direct sunlight, with most of the direct sunlight reaching the upper levels of the south and east elevations. The process helped define an optimal PV-zone on the building’s south and east elevations, where there is the most sunlight, which informed the placement of PV cells on the facade.This ensured optimal performance of the cells on the south and east elevations, allowing for maximum energy harvesting. In understanding the existing site context, UNStudio also explored the existing views in and out of the site. The majority of unobstructed views are located on the north elevation, while on the south side the best views were above the 23rd

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mass of the building becomes less apparent, the facade lighting integrates with the night sky, displaying gently shifting constellations of light,” says van Berkel. The proposed exterior offers the opportunity for significant building performance improvements, resulting in a more sustainable building, which addresses the context, environment and programmatic use.Van Berkel says, “By means of a reductive, integrated gesture, the facade design for the Hanwha HQ implements fully inclusive systems which significantly impact the interior climate of the building, improve user comfort and ensure high levels of sustainability and affordability. Through fully integrated design strategies, today’s facades can provide responsive and well-performing envelopes that both contextually and conceptually react to their local surroundings, whilst simultaneously determining interior conditions.” Understanding existing site populations and variables was important in the design of an effective and responsive facade. During

level. This informed the design, creating more openings where views were possible, and minimizing the openings where the views directly faced the neighbouring buildings. This also directly corresponded with sun exposure; the north facade has views in and out, direct sun exposure is not a concern. The design of the facade system includes the development of two different module types. These modules directly correspond to the different uses in the building, as well as provide a performative nature impacting the interior climate of the building. The standard facade module was designed for the typical office areas, and made up of three different rectangular components. The A-typical module was designed for the common areas, and made up of four different component sizes, varying in height and depth. The geometry of the A-typical component angles away from the building, an overhang that acts as a shading device and also creates a surface to mount PV cells. While the geometry is specifically oriented to provide shading, in the upper portion of the south facade the geometry is positioned to allow direct sunlight. The module development of the facade in the PV zone allows for interior shading of the areas with direct sun exposure, helping to improve the interior climate of the building by reducing heat gain and glare, directly resulting in the reduction of energy consumption. The retrofit of the Hanwha headquarters in Seoul creates the opportunity to reimagine an existing building with a new approach to the building envelope. A responsive approach to performative facade could significantly improve the overall performance of the existing building. Although the new facade has not yet been built, Adele Peters, a writer who focuses on sustainability and design says, “In total, though the final details are still in progress, the retrofit may save well over a million kilowatthours of electricity each year.” While the actual numbers on energy savings are still to be determined, the proposed design reimagines a building that responds to its users and surrounding context. re


room of their own


A reimagining of EPL’s points of service at the Stanley Milner branch addresses the changing role of libraries

By Shelley Williamson




n case you haven’t heard, Edmonton Public Library (EPL) was named North America’s Library of the Year in 2014. Perhaps one of the reasons it has stacked up recognition is that it listens to customer requests and acts on them. Case in point: the Stanley Milner One Desk. In 2011, designer Oliver Edwards of Manasc Isaac was tasked with overseeing this project at the Stanley Milner Library, EPL’s downtown branch, which ushers in 4,000 visitors each day. Edwards welcomed the reimagining with a mere $95,000 budget, which perhaps posed one of the greatest trials of the project, behind meeting the expectations of his client.The goal? To replace several clunky reception desks with one central go-to point for customers and streamline branch operations. “One of the main challenges and rewards is coming to grips with the clients’ expectations,” Edwards says. “With this client, it was quite a limited budget and there was a big expectation as to how it would change the main foyer when you came in. I think as well one of the other main challenges was trying to work with the rebranding of Edmonton Public Library.”

EPL was in the process of changing its image to something a little smarter and cooler. It ran with a new logo and palette of pleasing colours, and the EPL generated new user cards, complete with catchy slogans: “Smart is the

new black” and “Chicks dig big brains.” The One Desk project would have to align with the new marketing. To that end, the same coloured bars, or lit “fingers” were added to the furniture to reinforce the new brand, Edwards says.

Virginia Clevette, manager of the Stanley Milner branch at the time, welcomed changes to the floor plan – the old one hadn’t been working well. “At one point we had four service desks on the main floor alone,” she says. “People

“ The One Desk service model was born, and part of that also included services that we call ‘On the Floor,’ so that a customer who is way in the 900s would have an opportunity to encounter a staff member who was moving through the collections looking for an opportunity to provide service.” - Virginia Clevette, former manager of the Stanley Milner branch of EPL

to provide service,” Clevette explains. During the 10-month renovations (during which the library stayed up and running), curved shelving was also incorporated to act as a focal point upon entry to the branch just to the left of the desk; the music desk came out at the same time. “People walked past that desk and did not realize they had even walked past a desk. There was a bit of confusion,” says Clevette. A few informal desks with computers were scattered throughout the Stanley Milner for staff to check on a book, and at the same time four self-checkouts were built in at the main-floor level for an increasingly savvy stock of library users. Richard Thornley, who has managed the Stanley Milner branch for a year-and-a-half, says there was a slight pushback from staff, who perceived a level of protection had been removed with the One Desk. “The one concern that staff had was the openness,” he >

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would come in and didn’t quite know where they should go. There was a bit of a situation; staff on the main floor were directing people up to the second and vice versa. In the hopes of making the customers feel smarter, we also felt that we needed a centralized service desk.” Clevette adds that part of the reasoning behind the retrofit was an obvious shift in the roles of librarians. No longer do bespectacled women wearing their hair in a bun act as the gatekeepers to aisles of numbered tomes. Things have become increasingly digital with the advent of ebooks and computers. “The One Desk service model was born, and part of that also included services that we call ‘On the Floor,’ so that a customer who is way in the 900s would have an opportunity to encounter a staff member who was moving through the collections looking for an opportunity


room of their own



notes. “I think they felt a little vulnerable, so we have worked with them, and some of the spatial design in behind the desk had to be closed in a bit.” The move helped staff feel they were more enclosed behind the desk. “We are working still on that.” Other physical library changes included amalgamating books on similar topics and organizing by fiction or non-fiction. “I feel like we touched every book and moved it somewhere,” Clevette says. Thornley says the One Desk has chiefly brought

positive feedback. “In the past, certain staff members were tasked with certain types of questions, and there was a bit of triage, but it’s much more seamless now,” he says. “There was a long transition, and I think for the most part staff felt supported. Customers come in and pretty well know where to go … we are not finding people feeling orphaned.” Clevette championed having social workers on the premises at the Stanley Milner to address other needs of downtown library patrons that fall outside of finding

reference materials or using computers. She considers the One Desk project a reflection of the changing role of not just librarians, but the library itself. “We were named Library of the Year for North America,” says Clevette. “It’s a tremendous accolade and really speaks to the idea of what we are trying to get out from under.” Clevette says that libraries are saddled with the opinions society has about their role, and EPL stepped up and “really changed that; it has consciously made an effort to re-envision libraries.” Part of the ongoing EPL

reimagination of the role of a library is to see other branches also add social workers to their rosters of staff. Libraries in Winnipeg and Hamilton have followed EPL’s example. Thornley agrees that having the One Desk concept and staff out on the floor is in keeping with the new direction of modern libraries. “One of the benefits is convenience.You can go to one point in the building and you know that whatever issue you have you will be helped,” he says. These issues might include help with an iPad, to talk to somebody about fines on an account or even to find some genealogical information about your Métis ancestors. “We have three levels of staff that all work very collegially,” Thornley says, “and 99 per cent of the time they can give you that answer.” Clevette would like to see EPL’s reimagining to go a step further. “It would be terrific to have staff just instant messaging one another across the entire system. But that’s not there yet,” she says. re IMAGE COURTESY MANASC ISAAC

material world

BLURRED BOUNDARIES Spanish San Telmo Museum uses a perforated facade to showcase indoor and outdoor art By Tiffany Shaw-Collinge Photos Fernando Alda


porary exhibitions, a shop, library, storage and an open air space. The opening was designed for en plein air exhibitions, where visitors can enjoy a café-terrace, with views up to the mountain and down below to the plaza. The architects also incorporated a staircase that cuts through the building, allowing visitors to climb up past the two-storey hardscape environment to the mountain. This intersection amplifies the point where the horizontal plane of the city connects with the topographic elevation of the hillside. >

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he San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián, Spain, was originally built in the Renaissance style and used as a Dominican convent in the mid-16th century. In the 20th century, it was converted into a museum for Basque art and historical artifacts. But in 2006 the Spanish studio Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won a competition to renovate the existing building and to add an extension for more exhibition space that would respond to both the dynamic natural and urban environments, surrounding it with a perforated facade. Situated in Zuloaga Square, the back face of the extension nestles into Urgull Mountain and Biscay Bay, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The project started construction in 2007 and was completed by 2011. The museum had a request for more exhibition space, which Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos answered in three parts. To restructure the family of buildings operated by the museum, the architects suggested restoring areas that held the strongest values in the historical building – the cloister, church, tower and chapel. Next, they suggested demolishing all structures attached to the original building except one structure that faces the square, which was part of the “urban memory” of the plaza, as described by the architects. Thirdly, they suggested an extension to provide cohesive public programming in the lobby, giving access to the permanent collection (housed in the original museum), as well as pavilions for tem-


material world



To restructure the family of buildings operated by the museum, the architects suggested restoring areas that held the strongest values in the historical building – the cloister, church, tower and chapel.

“Every architectural project carries within it the acknowledgment of the boundary as a concept, which determines its [spatial] and formal configuration,” say the architects in a written statement. “Whether the materialization of that boundary should occur in a clear or blurred manner, with strength or gentleness, expressing lightness or weight, it is not a minor decision, because it reflects a specific stance when addressing the multiple discontinuities that contemporary cities face today.” In collaboration with artists Leopoldo Ferrán and Augustina Otero, the studio designed a perforated facade

on the extension, which provides altered views between the interior and exterior and acts as a border dividing the natural and man-made environment. With the artist’s consultation, the wall was crafted into a public art piece as well as an architectural facade that highlights its surroundings by attempting to blur the separation. The wall is comprised of aluminum cast panels with oval perforations to allow moss, lichen and other native plant species to take over in curated events designed by the perforated openings. The silver-grey aluminum facade takes on the implied appearance of the plaza in the front ele-

The silver-grey aluminum facade takes on the implied appearance of the plaza in the front elevation, but the vegetation that grows on it softens the divide between the sharp modern contrast of the building and the rock face behind.

building, allowing foliage to seek out the light through the oval openings. The facade fulfills several uses with its perforations. The building’s vegetation mutates as part of the natural and artificial landscape, dependent upon the time of year. The arranged perforations in the aluminum panels provide glimpses into the interior, which alter throughout the course of a day. In the daytime, filtered light reaches the interior spaces and provides privileged views to the courtyard. At night, the speckled light from the interior spreads out into the plaza, creating intimate views. Over time the growth will take over the building in

surprising and delightful ways. One question arises as to the choice material of the panels. Over time, aluminum will dull rather than brighten, which indicates the architect was most likely interested in the growth of the plants as an expression of the natural landscape. Their growth addresses temporality through the plants’ movement, but the building itself stays the same. Therefore, if the aluminum remains relatively the same over time, its modern newness will also become part of an institutional style along with the original Renaissance counterparts left untouched be the retrofit. re

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vation, but the vegetation that grows on it softens the divide between the sharp modern contrast of the building and the rock face of the mountain behind it throughout the seasons. The two-sided 3,500-panel recycled aluminum casted facade is arranged in a grid. Oval holes perforate the panels at various angels to give differentiated patterning, which is then placed on an iron frame that connects back to the main structure. By rotating and flipping the panels, a varied pattern appears across the long walled facade, imitating and accentuating organic growth. Plants hang between the cavities of the panels and the


public eye


Reimagining EIA’s 1960s tower would yield lower energy use and higher impact

By Martin Dover




dmonton International Airport’s new eight-storey Central Tower opened in March 2013, part of the EIA’s $1-billion expansion project – a response to burgeoning traffic and aging infrastructure at the airport. The new tower and its offices replace the old Edmonton International Airport Terminal building, which was designed in the early 1960s by Dr. A.O. Minsos of Rensaa and Minsos Architects and cost $10,000,000. It consisted of a three-storey passenger terminal and eight-storey office tower housing a weather office, telecommunications centre and air traffic control centre. The structure, built in the modernist style, was the embodiment of the forwardlooking attitudes of the day. “The 1960s was an optimistic era that demanded more buildings with a progressive outlook,” writes David Murray in Capital Modern, a collection of online essays about Edmonton’s built environment. “Air travel was growing and in 1961, the federal government put

out a call for the design of a new International Airport.” Rensaa and Minsos had already gained acclaim with the design of the 1956 Ross Sheppard High School, itself a signature modernist structure. At the time, Murray says the airport tower “was one of the most modern,

streamlined air terminals in the world.” The terminal was 950 feet long, and the architects designed it to accommodate a traffic load that was anticipated to materialize by 1972. Planning for future passenger loads was considered a progressive notion in its time.

“But now that tower is still there,” says Michael Turner, building envelope engineer and partner at Manasc Isaac. “It still has the original 1960s glass-andaluminum curtain wall.” And, despite the slings and arrows of age, the building represents lots of recoverable, useable

construction strategies 1

install hoarding


Install boarding

install crane and swing stage


Install crane and swing stage.

take apart existin facade increment

construction strategies install hoarding Take apart existing take apart existing façade incrementally. facade incrementally 5 continue replacement around entire perimeter 1



st facades)


take apart existing facade incrementally continue replacement around entire perimeter Continue replacement install sunshades (south facade only)

install crane and swing stage Replace original curtain replace original curtain wall wall sections with new sections with new curtain wall install outriggers and shading fabric (east and west facades) 6 sections curtain wall. 2


replace original curtain wall sections with new curtain wall install outriggers and shading fabric (east and west facades) sections Install outriggers and complete base (ground level spaces and new traffic flow)





round entire perimeter.


install sunshades (south facade only)

I nstall stainless steel, laser-cut sun shading on the south façade.


the EIA will continue to grow, necessitating future development of office and retail space in a spot that is prime real estate. Rather than a painstaking and costly dismantling of the old tower and building fresh, the Manasc Isaac team proposes creating an



install sunshades

install sunshade

shading fabric on the east and west facades.


complete base (ground level spaces and new traffic flow)

Complete the base ground-level spaces and new traffic flows.

elegant reimagined space, less expensive than building new – and a reboot is by far the greenest option. Turner says the best hope for preserving and playing with the mid-century charm of the old tower – and saving its carcass from the landfill – is to look at the

matter as a balanced equation. “We approached it from the perspective that we’d spend no more on a useable, reimagined space than a deconstruction would cost.” The first thing to consider is the building envelope, Turner says. “We want to spend energy, attention and >

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space. All that’s wanting is a little reimagination. “There is a significant cost issue,” Turner says. “Deconstruction of the old tower, taking away all that concrete in the context of a working airport, is extremely expensive.” And then there is the fact that


take apart existi facade increment



public eye

The existing tower at Edmonton International Airport is in need of a refresh.



money to gain the greatest effect.” He says that his team can arrange to take apart the old curtain wall easily, and he proposes replacing it with a combination of opaque wall and transparent glass curtain wall. The existing building is already oriented with its long walls facing north and south, maximizing the daylight available indoors. The upgrades to mechanical systems that the Manasc Isaac team proposes will act in concert with operable windows on the east face and elsewhere, where possible. The team would upgrade the roof, tamping the plume of heat it currently loses in the winter. The EIA has pegged the old tower’s value at between $6 and $8 million. Nobody wants to lose that investment outright, least of all the management at the facility. Including the orientation of the building, there are many other features that make it ideal for reimagining. Its floor-to-floor height meets contemporary leasable space requirements, and there is recoverable space below hung ceilings, especially with the team’s addition of fire sprinklers that activate from the bottom up, as well as the top down. The Manasc Isaac reimagine team proposes a

creative laser-cut stainless steel sunshade to cope with the heat of the midday sun on the south face, a welcome and elegant touch that will make the space pleasant on those April-toSeptember days when, on June 21, the sun can climb as high as at 60 degrees above the horizon. Conversely, the shade can be adjusted and the windows tinted to collect the available midwinter light when the sun struggles up to just 11 degrees above the horizon on December 21. On the opposite side, the glass curtain wall will be sufficient without a shade,

even in summer. “We can harvest that northern light,” Turner says. The smaller east and west faces are more problematic. In the middle of the open airport land, there are no real obstacles to the piercing dawn and dusk rays of the Prairie sun. “Here we’d put an opaque sunblocking fabric screening the wall,” Turner says. Turner is thoughtfully realistic about the possibilities offered by reimagination. “The new tower is a work of art the airport authority and design architect will not want to

outdo.” he says, certainly not constrained by the equation that would have the project spend the same or less money as deconstruction would cost. The new tower harks to the Prairie environment: winds, undulating grasses and gently drifting snow. Where it shows the pillowy windinfluenced forms of what lies above ground, Turner wants the old tower to say something about the strata below ground. But Turner’s team is energized by the challenges of reimagining the old tower. “It’s a conservative

“ We want to spend energy, attention and money to gain the greatest effect.” - Michael Turner, partner at Manasc Isaac

the new one as a juxtaposition of what’s above and below.” Turner is heartened by the official word from the EIA. “We understand that our plan is being taken seriously,” he says. “They have put off demolition, which is certainly encouranging.” He salutes the leadership of the EIA, under the guidance

of president and CEO Tom Ruth, as thoughtful and forward-looking. And, like the forward-looking management at the airport in the 1960s, today’s managers are aware that they need to be accountable for the new demands for office and retail space that are certainly are coming. In the consideration

of deconstruction versus reimagination, the former would leave a gap at the EIA and a hulking carcass in the landfill. At no more cost, the latter would leave an elegant and thoughtful tower that speaks to modern sensibility, while offering several floors of well-appointed space. The choice seems clear. re

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rectilinear structure,” he says. “We can play with that.” The stick frame, glass curtain and stainless steel shade that the team proposes for the structure would accentuate the look of long, wide sedimentary layers, allowing an observer to imagine the tower has risen wholesale from the earth. “I see a reimagined tower next to


last word


Actions by the International Union of Architects and partners to quash CO2/fossil fuel emissions

On August 6, 2014, a round table of partners met in Durban, South Africa to discuss what measures to take to phase out fossil fuel and CO2 emissions by the year 2050. Attendees included United Nations agencies, regional organizations of architects, organizations for heritage and the environment and humanitarian groups. The group agreed to the “Declaration 2050 Imperatives,� which include:

1 o plan and design cities, T towns, urban developments and new buildings to be carbon neutral.

To renovate and rehabilitate existing cities, towns, urban redevelopments and buildings to be carbon neutral while respecting cultural and heritage values.

4 To engage in research and set targets toward the 2050 goal.




3 In cases where reaching carbon neutral is not feasible or practical, plan and design cities, towns, urban developments and new buildings and renovations to be highly efficient with the capability to produce or import all their energy from renewable sources in the future.

5 To advocate for and promote socially-responsible architecture for the community and to plan and design sustainable, resilient, inclusive and low-carbon/zero carbon-built environments as well as no-cost or low-cost on-site renewable energy and natural resources systems. re SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ARCHITECTS

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