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Atrium at TELUS Sky
The $350-million, 59-storey TELUSsky tower in the heart of downtown Calgary is set to break ground this summer.
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“It’s part of a general ambition of actually contributing to the city core of Calgary with a more mixed-use,” said architect Bjarke Ingels, who was instrumental in the unique design for the skyscraper. “Calgary has a sort of typical North American downtown where there’s very little local population and these big corporate highrises.

“And basically the Telus Sky, roughly half of the silhouette of the tower, is residential and the character of the tower is created by the diversity of needs that the two different programs actually demand . . . We’re trying in a way to contribute to the cultural diversity by bringing in a resident population and also making the building embrace the public space both on the surroundings but also on the inside.”

The skyscraper features: 760,000 total square feet; 450,000 square feet of office space including 150,000 square feet for Telus’ new offices; 15,000 square feet of retail space; and 29 floors with 326 residential rental apartments comprising a total of 252,000 square feet.

Vancouver developer Westbank and real estate investment trust Allied Properties, which owns Art Central where Telus Sky is being built at 100 7th Ave. S.W., are partners in the project with Telus.

Construction is expected to be completed in late 2017.

Architecture for the project is by the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Dialog, which has an office in Calgary.

“Calgary’s built environment is a very masculine built environment,” said Ian Gillespie, president of Westbank. “So part of the task that BIG had was to produce something that was a little more feminine. A little lighter. A little finer grain.

“For Calgary to have a vibrant downtown core it needs to have people living in it. For Calgary to take advantage of its transportation system, it needs to have people living on it.”

The building will have many features including a vertical garden wall, a grand atrium/arrival lobby, up to 35 per cent more energy efficiency than comparable office buildings, direct connection to the Plus-15 system and the LRT, 5,000 square feet of dedicated cultural space, a 15,000-square-foot wellness centre, an integrated public art program throughout the ground plane, a world-class restaurant on the second level, and amenities that rival the best luxury hotels around the world, built by the team with the three top luxury hotel brands in the country.

Gillespie said mixed-use buildings are becoming a norm today and a proven successful typology.

“This site wanted to have a tall building on it but we thought one of the ways to achieve that was doing a mixed-use project because it just seemed to us that there was a lack of really good housing downtown and in particular we were attracted to the idea of making it rental,” said Gillespie.

“What came out of that was the unique shape where you have offices on the bottom and residential on the top half which obviously demands that the building changes form to respond to those uses. That’s what’s so beautiful about the project. The form of the project was derived from the uses in the building.”

Ingels said the graceful nature of the building makes it both expressive but at the same time incredibly rational and functional.

“It almost occupies a kind of hybrid typology that is really, really rare in highrise design,” said Ingels.

Gillespie said the demolition of Art Central will take place sometime between July and September.

He said the leasing process for the building is just starting and it was one of the reasons he and Ingels came to Calgary Thursday to meet with the brokerage community.

“With Telus as the anchor tenant we have the leasing sufficient to build the building,” said Gillespie.

Read the full article at the Calgary Herald.