Selfless Urban Landscape
10th avenue SW between 8th street SW and 5th street SW has been selflessly sacrificing itself for the betterment of Calgary and Canada as a whole. Historically, the corridor served as home to several warehouses and office buildings supporting the operation and maintenance of companies dependent on railway transport. It was one component in the larger network of locations that allowed East-West movement of goods. As the economy transitioned, and dependence on the railway was lessened, the corridor took on a different role, but once again selflessly gave itself to propagate the economy. Movement through the site shifted from the East-West movement of goods, to the South-North movement of people to the central downtown core.
The design intervention for this site positions the first selfish act of design the corridor has seen; a building that exemplifies the intersection between urban landscape and built form, created by flows and intensities inherent to the site.
The guiding principle of the formal gestures made relate back to a spectrum of urban rhetoric which fall between Superstudio’s ‘plane of nothingness’ and Pironesi’s ‘imaginary prisons’. On the one end is a reality where social interactions and spontaneous congregation enables the boundary-less creation of space within an infinite plane to occur. On the other, is the rigidity and definition of physical space by structure that infers a prescriptive condition. The goal of this project was to balance between those two opposing forces and find a way to intersect the benefits of both to create an architecture that is consumed by the public realm. A rigid, prefabricated grid is disrupted by a flowing and organic landscape to result in a building that is in constant tension between privacy and publicness.