University of Calgary

Calgary Public Building

May 17, 2011

Restorative design

By Jessica Wallace

Photo courtesy of the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Calgary Public Building (2007) The City of Calgary, 2007Photo courtesy of the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Calgary Public Building (2007) The City of Calgary, 2007Marc Boutin, environmental design associate professor, and his architecture firm, the Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative Inc, recently received the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Design Award, for their restoration design on the Calgary Public Building.

Built in 1931, the Calgary Public Building is an eight-storey, reinforced concrete structure located at the eastern end of Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall in downtown Calgary. The building occupies a major central site; adjacent to Olympic Plaza, in close proximity to City Hall and home of the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts.

Established in 2000, FCM Sustainable Communities Design Awards offers national recognition for municipally-led environmental projects that demonstrate leadership, innovation and excellence.

Boutin and his team earned recognition not only for their extensive restorative building design, but also on the sustainability of the project for future generations. The team’s design proposed upgrades to the buildings heating, cooling and electrical systems, with the goal of improving energy efficiency in the building and the health and safety of its more than 300 employees.

Photo courtesy of the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Calgary Public Building (ca.1929) Glenbow Archives PA-2807-4191Photo courtesy of the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Calgary Public Building (ca.1929) Glenbow Archives PA-2807-4191 Where possible, they chose to reuse and recycle rather than buy new or demolish. The renovation preserved the exterior of the historic building and reaped significant environmental impacts.

The renovation has lowered operating costs in the Calgary Public Building by an impressive 46 percent, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 54 percent. The installation of low-flow toilets and automatic faucets has reduced water consumption by 45 percent; with solar power technology now generating 60 percent of the building’s hot water.

Boutin’s design also earned LEED Gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized certification for green building based on environmental factors such as energy savings, water efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions. This project was also awarded the City of Calgary Lions Heritage Award, which recognizes heritage conservation in our city.




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