Posts tagged with "Alberta":

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Edmonton Symphony Orchestra gets upgrade with $65 million expansion plan

Newly revealed plans to expand the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Alberta, Canada, present a striking transformation from a small concert hall to a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use space. The expansion, designed by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas, will redefine the downtown building as a 21st-century cultural hub complete with curved glass walls, a slatted stone roof enclosure, and an elevated garden level. Bromberg’s design marks a progressive change for the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, a space deeply rooted in community and public access. The Winspear Centre was completed in 1997 by Canadian architecture firm Dialog, providing a resounding answer to the long-standing question of the feasibility of placing a concert hall in Edmonton; over 60,000 people flocked to the Winspear’s 1,900-seat concert hall in its inaugural month. Dialog described the walls as “micro-textured to create outstanding reverberance and clarity,” adding to the Winspear Centre’s reputation for superb acoustics. Public enthusiasm for the Winspear has yet to fade, leading to the calls for expansion so that the center might better serve its community. The 98-foot-tall addition to the existing structure will create a new 550-seat concert hall called the Music Box, containing a unique hydraulic seating system with "the ability to transform from flat floor to raked to cabaret-style seating in minutes,” according to Adeas. On the ground level, additional rooms for public use as well as a daycare center and music library will boost the building’s function as a community resource. The glass atrium will open to an accessible elevated garden level, with additional shade provided by the overhanging slatted roof. Increased parking will be available both underground and at the street level. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and conclude in 2021. A grand opening will occur in 2022 alongside the Winspear Centre’s 25th anniversary celebration.
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The internet is up in arms over tank-like Edmonton Public Library

As the redesigned Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton, Canada creeps closer to its 2020 completion date, residents of the city have begun to express concerns that the project won't end up as advertised. The building, which sits downtown and serves as the central branch of the Edmonton Public Library system, has prompted an online backlash after photos of the construction site began circulating in the last few days, with many on Twitter comparing the library to a tank or cruise ship.

The complaints have focused primarily on the structure's external appearance, which currently resembles something less graceful than a flagship library branch. It has been compared to everything from a naval destroyer to a fall-out shelter, with some simply calling the building “ugly,” and have laid the blame at the recladding led by Toronto's Teeple Architects. Others have been quick to contrast the Edmonton design to its neighbor to the north, Calgary’s brand new public library, which opened to great fanfare late last year. Executed by Snøhetta and DIALOG, the Calgary project was popular with the general public and remained consistent from renderings through realization, leaving some Edmontonians to wonder what went wrong in their own city.

The design for the new Stanley Milner Library calls for a complete remodeling of the original building. An Asgard zinc cladding is being used on the exterior, much of which is still covered in protective plastic wrapping. Strips of new windows will perforate the outer walls to allow significantly more natural light into the building’s interior spaces. The refreshed facility, which has been closed since December 2016 and is set to open next February, will boast considerably more space for the children’s library, a new venue for Indigenous ceremonies, and improved amenities for audio recording and play. As of right now, though, the sparkly new object promised to Edmontonians in the project’s initial renderings seems duller than expected, and the design has changed considerably over time. Twitter users are correct to notice that certain changes have been made. Structural issues and budget constraints early on prompted Teeple to remove or shrink some of the windows and focus their efforts on interior spaces and services—arguably the most important part of the project. But Pilar Martinez, CEO of the Edmonton Public Library, has joined city architect Carol Belanger and Mayor Don Iveson in urging patience for the public. The building’s appearance, they insist, will improve as it comes closer to completion. Protective materials will be removed, lights will be switched on, people will fill the space, and the full effect of the original design as represented in the drawings will be realized.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Martinez told Global News Canada. She may very well be right, and the controversy at hand may be little more than a distant memory by February, but at this stage in construction, residents can do little more than trust the process.

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Sturgess and RJC Soar with Glass Skywalk

Parabola cantilever walkway delivers park visitors to the brink.

Concerned that visitors to Canada's national parks were becoming increasingly disengaged from both the experience of the outdoors and the reality of climate change, Parks Canada launched a search for private-sector initiatives to reverse the trend toward drive-through tourism. Brewster Travel Canada answered the call with a limited design competition for a walkable structure in Jasper National Park's Sunwapta Valley. "One of the bus drivers suggested that we do something over this particular gorge, Trickle Creek Canyon—something that could be suspended off the side of the mountain that brought visitors into a more intimate relationship with the Athabasca Glacier and its melting," explained Sturgess Architecture principal Jeremy Sturgess. With design-build team lead PCL Construction Management and structural engineer Read Jones Christoffersen (RJC), Sturgess' firm crafted a cantilevered walkway that, clad in weathering steel and glass, defers to its natural surroundings while providing breathtaking views of the glacier and valley floor. Though not a facade itself, Glacier Skywalk warrants discussion within the context of high-performance building envelopes for its innovative structure and streamlined approach to materials—the "+" in Facades+. Though the expected solution to the competition brief was a suspension bridge or other high-masted element, "we thought as a team that this approach would not be appropriate to the site," recalled Sturgess. "As much as we were going to make something courageous and heroic, we also wanted it to be subtle." RJC's Simon Brown came up with the idea of a parabola cantilever that draws visitors 35 meters beyond the face of the cliff. Sturgess Architecture focused on minimizing the material palette, relying primarily on Corten and glass, plus gabion mats filled with local rocks and concrete on the adjoining interpretive walk. "The idea was that the Corten would emulate the ferric oxide outcropping that you see on the existing mountainside," said Sturgess. "We wanted the whole element to feel fractal and extruded from the mountainside. As much as it was clearly manmade, it was to be as sensitive to the local environment as possible."
  • Facade Manufacturer Beauce Atlas (steel), Josef Gartner (structural glass), Heavy Industries (Corten)
  • Architects Sturgess Architecture, Read Jones Christoffersen (structural engineering)
  • Facade Installer PCL Construction Management
  • Location Jasper National Park, Alberta
  • Date of Completion May 2014
  • System steel parabola cantilever walkway with Corten elements and structural glass floor
  • Products Josef Gartner structural glass, custom Corten elements from Heavy Industries
Glacier Skywalk's signature design element is its glass floor, constructed in three layers—two structural, the third designed to be easily replaced if broken or otherwise damaged. "I'm a little nervous about walking on glass floors," admitted Sturgess. Several times he suggested replacing the glass with an opaque material to save money, but the rest of the team refused to let go. "Normally when I've worked in design-build, the gun is to our head and the finger's on the trigger," said Sturgess. "In this case, every time we suggested, 'We can save money here,' everyone on the design team was so in love with the concept, we couldn't lose anything lightly." Sturgess Architecture swapped Rhino models with PCL, RJC, and Heavy Industries, who formed all of the Corten work, throughout the design development phase. "I've never gone through such an extraordinary hands-on design process working with the actual craftsman of the solution," said Sturgess. "This iterative process of working with the team as we crafted every piece kind of by hand—though on the computer—is what led to the success of the project." In combination with its geologically inspired cladding, Glacier Skywalk's minimal structure delivers an illusion of weightlessness that only adds to the sense of exposure. The curvature of the walkway allowed RJC to install a nearly invisible cable suspension system to counterbalance its outward propulsion. "It expresses the thrust from the mountainside, and it does it in a way that makes it feel like a really integral fit with the [landscape]," said Sturgess. "The success is that it's not too much."
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Boston Valley Brings a 100-Year-Old Dome into the Digital Age

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building's century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.

Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools. On site in Edmonton, technicians took a 3D laser scan of the dome prior to disassembly. They also tagged specific terra cotta pieces to send to New York as samples. These pieces, which ranged from simple blocks to gargoyles and capitals, went straight to the in-house lab for scanning into Rhino. The drafting department combined the overall scan with the individual scans to create a total picture of the dome’s surface geometry and depth. The individual scans, in addition, were critical to making the approximately 508 unique molds employed on the project. To compensate for the eight percent shrinkage clay goes through during drying and firing, the craftsmen at Boston Valley used to have to perform a series of calculations before building a mold. “[Now we] take the scan data and increase by eight percent by simply doing a mouse click,” said Boston Valley national sales manager Bill Pottle. In some cases, the craftsmen converted the scan data into a tool path for the five-axis CNC machine used to make the molds. “We’re doing that more and more in some of our mold making. It also allows us to ensure that we’re recreating them to the most exacting tolerance and dimensions that we can,” said Pottle. The data from the 3D scans also helped the craftsmen replicate the dome’s complicated curvature. “Between the scanned pieces and the scan of the dome itself, we were able to figure out some very complex geometry where each of these individual pieces had the correct shape to them,” said Pottle.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta
  • Architects Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Allan Merrick Jeffers, Richard Blakey
  • Location Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Date of Completion November 2013
  • System terra cotta rain screen
For sustainability and durability, the designers at Boston Valley reconfigured the dome as a rain screen system, with terra cotta components attached to a stainless steel frame. But while the rain screen boosts environmental performance, it also demands incredible precision. Again, the 3D models proved invaluable. “The models allowed these tight tolerances. [We] could explode it and make sure everything was connected. It would have been impossible without that level of sophisticated software,” said president John Krouse. The Alberta Legislature Building dome restoration is the first major project on which Boston Valley has unleashed its full array of digital design tools. Krouse hopes its success—he estimates that the digital tools speeded fabrication by 200 percent—will send a message to designers interested in experimenting with terra cotta: “What we’re trying to say to the architecture and design community globally is don’t be afraid to start designing domes with complex geometry, because we’re equipped with all this technology. It doesn’t have to be a square box.”
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Inside Ball-Nogues Studio’s Canadian Vault

Fabrikator
In 2011, a major expansion to Edmonton, Alberta’s Quesnell Bridge generated an ongoing effort to enliven the landscape surrounding the overpass, which connects the northwest and southwest portions of Canada’s fifth largest city. A resultant public art commission from the Edmonton Arts Council for Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary design-build fabricators Ball-Nogues Studio called for an engaging installation along the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, which sees a live load of 120,000 vehicles each day. While brainstorming the project, it was apparent to the firm’s principal and designer in charge Benjamin Ball that the areas immediately surrounding the bridge were not carefully considered by passengers. “It was a sort of no-man’s-land between the transportation infrastructure and the landscape,” he recently told AN. Drawing inspiration from the mundane—sand piles, gravel, and detritus from the trucking industry—and the majestic—talus and scree formations enveloping the base of surrounding cliffs—Ball and the studio’s cofounder Nogues applied their knowledge of sphere packing to echo the angle of repose of natural and man-made mounds.
  • Fabricators Ball-Nogues Studio
  • Designers Ball-Nogues Studio
  • Location Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Date of Completion October 2011
  • Material stainless steel, 360-millimeter stainless steel brackets
  • Process Rhino, CATIA, welding, hammering, screwing
“In this case, we wanted to make a conventional dome shape, combined with the talus pile concept,” said Ball. Designed in Rhino, the team worked with a structural engineer to optimize the form in CATIA. An architectural slip mold was milled from plywood into which 930 prefabricated, reflective, stainless steel spheres were poured and packed into an inverted dome shape. Three different sizes were used to maximize surface coverage while maintaining minimal spatial gaps that embody transparency and allude to the emptiness of the parabolic form. Using the prefabricated spheres was a conscious design decision made to take advantage of the lack of dimensional predictability that comes when hydro-forming the components. “We wanted those uncertainties,” said Ball. “When you pack those spheres together, it’s impossible to predict how they’ll relate to each other, so you have to build that into your design process, anticipate a surprise, and embrace it, versus working against it.” The team welded the spheres together with 360-millimeter stainless steel brackets and affixed them as 27 panels for shipment from Burbank, California, to Alberta, Canada. Once the cargo reached the site, even though the panels were numbered, reassembly proved challenging. “You have some kind of thermal expansion and contraction that comes from fabricating in 105 degrees and installing in 55 degrees,” said Ball. “The fact that it was fabricated upside down and erected as a dome shape meant there was a lot of on-site decision making. It needed some gentle nudges and persuasions from a hammer to fit.” Ultimately the sculpture was secured to the earth along a steel ring beam foundation on screw piles driven three feet into the ground. For the designers, the process behind realizing Talus Dome successfully embraced the capabilities of digital fabrication but simultaneously embraced some “fuzziness” in constructing it. “In design and fabrication today, there’s a tendency to try to eliminate any uncertainty or looseness in the process, and that’s done by choice,” said Ball. “But here, by choice, we’re accepting that and working within those tolerances.”