Heart of University of Calgary campus undergoing placemaking transformation

May 16 2019, 7:17 pm

Disruptions caused by construction within the very core of the University of Calgary’s campus are proving to be well worth the wait, now that progress on the project is accelerating and becoming very visible — turning what was an old structure into an architectural jewel.

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The MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment Project includes the complete retrofit of the 1972-built, 13-storey MacKimmie Tower. Its Stalinist, concrete, windowless, prison-like facade is long gone, and in its place a new sleek glass skin — designed by DIALOG Architecture — is being erected around the new metal exoskeleton on its exterior.

Before

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Previous condition of MacKimmie Tower. (University of Calgary)

After

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

 

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The project, which is supported by $271 million in provincial funding, will also expand student space for 500 new full-load equivalent students through the construction of new classrooms, centralized student services, new formal and informal study space, and expanded academic space. It will also be the new home for the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

As an exercise of placemaking, the redevelopment and renovation project extends to the area surrounding the building complex by enhancing new plazas and landscaping.

A new Swann Mall will be key to this public realm plan, with the area landscaped with prairie plantings such as short grasses and flowers, walkways edged by a variety of trees, and ample seating areas.

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Site plan of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

Criss-crossed walkways will connect destinations, allowing pedestrians walking north from the bus loop to move from building to building.

The so-called Prairie Chicken sculpture will remain at its location, and low-level outdoor lighting will keep the campus pathway system intimate and consistent with the rest of the campus public realm. Bike racks will also be installed at building entries to encourage cycling between the buildings.

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment University of Calgary

Artistic rendering of MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment. (DIALOG / University of Calgary)

The building development is one of Canada Green Building Council’s pilot projects for a new zero carbon building standard.

Portions of the renovated MacKimmie Tower and the expanded spaces should be ready for occupation by August, and the remainder of the new spaces will be gradually occupied as the semester progresses. Public realm improvements are anticipated to take longer.

 

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