University of Calgary
Downtown Campus, Canada
On the north-west corner of 8th street and 8th avenue, an extensively renovated former medical offices building now houses the downtown campus of the University of Calgary. Marshall Tittemore Architects, who were in charge of the rehabilitation, worked to make this building a flagship project for future renovations in the western extremity of the city and create a strong, visible community interface that acts as the visual terminus of this urban intersection.
Architect: Marshall Tittemore Architects
Client: Northwest Property Corporation
Surface aspect: ANTHRA-ZINC®
Technique : VMZ Scales
This 6-storey campus houses satellites for a certain number of universities such as the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy and the Haskayne School of Business. As well as classrooms and offices for students and teachers, the campus offers numerous multipurpose areas such as a bookshop, a cafeteria and a digital library.
This project entailed almost total demolition of the original building, with the exception of the structural framework and part of the north facade. The new design is based on two distinct but complementary elements juxtaposed around a glass atrium that vertically connects the various floors.
The zinc facade of the building was designed to house the administrative offices of the Campus, as well as to reflect the dynamic expression of the structure, which breaks with the austere image usually associated with this type of edifice. The arbitrary position of the windows gives a subtle movement to the facade.
The zinc scale cladding forms a tight grid, with discreet lines that leave pride of place to the overall form, reinforced by the dark grey of the zinc. These lozenge shaped scales are obtained by forming ordinary sheets that are fixed to a wooden substructure and installed using the flat lock technique.
The zinc envelope seems independent from its glass base. Its free, curved, continuous form and its varied cantilevers stand out from the initial volume.
Apart from the strong unity they give to the building envelope, the identically sized zinc scales make it easy to create complex forms such as these convex protruding corners, concave recessed corners and changes in curvature on the facade.
The zinc scales eliminate the need to use junction strips. The various junctions and flashings are dealt with in continuity.
The Campus was designed using a sustainable building approach that earned the project silver LEED certification.
The glass base of the project serves as a showcase and opens the university out on to the city.