Renovation/Restoration (Alberta)

Calgary Public Building

Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contractor: Virco Contracting
Architects: Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative; Busby Perkins & Will
Team: Canadian Acoustical Ceiling Supply, Pacific West Systems Supply, Bailey Metal Products, CertainTeed Gypsum, CGC Inc., Hilti Inc.

Photo by James McMenamin
The Calgary Public Building is home to city offices and a performing arts center.

The Calgary Public Building was built in 1929 by the federal government and purchased by the city of Calgary in 1979. Located in downtown Calgary, this historically significant building houses city offices and a performing arts center. The building also contains the last working old-style brass elevators in the province.

The building is listed as LEED gold but has since applied for LEED platinum, with 44 out of a possible 57 points. It has achieved a 46 percent reduction in operating costs and a 54 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the renovation, the sixth floor was set aside as a heritage floor, where the original doors, terrazzo flooring and plaster walls were left in place. Attention was also paid to the lighting in the corridors, which was matched as closely as possible to the original fixtures.

The washrooms on the sixth floor are in their original 1929 locations and the original marble stall partitions have been incorporated into the design.

All exterior windows have been left intact, but new energy-efficient windows were installed behind them. To get fresh air, tenants must first open the new windows and then the originals. When viewing the exterior of the building, it looks the same as it did in 1929.

One of the major challenges on this project — demolition — started the second the wall-and-ceiling contractor stepped on site. The crew had to keep much of the building’s original material in reusable condition so it could be transferred to the heritage floor.

Nearly every new ceiling was a CGC Celebration free-floating system with 6-inch Compasso and Compasso Slim trim. All interior office walls were installed through the means of friction fix, wedged between the floor and the free-floating suspended ceilings.

Judge’s comment: “The interior renovation of this building presents a prime example of what can be done to create a new look and functional space. Doing this job proved to be very challenging for the wall-and-ceiling team because of the number of historic components of the building that had to be protected and saved.”

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