THE MONTREAL GAZETTE –A mixed-use residential project design, slated for the intersection of 9th Avenue and 12th Street S.E. in Calgary’s historic Inglewood community, is garnering significant attention, winning an architectural Award of Merit in the prestigious Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, a national awards program established in 1967, recognizing projects in the design stage.
The project, known conceptually as IW09, and more recently tagged Rndsqr Block by the commissioning client, is designed by Winnipeg’s 5468796 Architecture.

Located just east of Calgary’s downtown core, on a former used car lot, the mid-rise structure’s contemporary form references both its urban context and historical roots.

The developer behind the project, Calgary’s Rndsqr, calls the project’s location “Inglewood’s centre ice.”

“We’ve met with many stakeholder groups and most notably had several meetings with Urban Strategy at the City of Calgary to identify how we can really create an amazing public realm experience that builds on the spirit of the award-winning 9th Avenue Streetscape Master Plan,” says Alkarim Devani, cofounder of Rndsqr.

The design includes a cast-in-place concrete, three-storey commercial podium, topped with cross-laminated timber residential floors, all wrapped in a wood diagrid. The building twists as it rises, stepping back from the podium to make room for the century-old brick-clad CIBC bank building, a design tactic that creates a sculpted prismatic effect, as well as minimizes shadow and impact on neighbouring structures.

“The project has a unique responsibility to respond to the beautiful 1911 heritage CIBC Bank Building, as well as to the perception of scale by pedestrians on the street,” says Sasa Radulovic, of 5468796 Architecture.

The structure utilizes a mass timber grid, lessening the building’s carbon footprint — mass timber is touted as being one of the most environmentally friendly building materials.

“The introduction of wood is a direct response to the ways historic Inglewood buildings were built 100 years ago,” says Radulovic,

The design carves out a pedestrian plaza, activating life at street level, and incorporates numerous community-oriented spaces, including two rooftop terraces and a third terrace overlooking a lawn bowling green.

“If they can get this approved, it could become a positive catalyst for the city in terms of pertinence and sensitivity to existing urban fabric,” commented Rami Bebawi, co-founder of Montreal-based KANVA and one of three jurors adjudicating the 2019 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence.

The project is still in the concept stages with a land use application pending.

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