Reimagine Tower Renewal Summit in Edmonton

Next Tuesday, Manasc Isaac Architects are hosting a luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald featuring John Woelfling of New York’s Dattner Architects (on ShareEdmonton). This is the latest in a series of events known as the Reimagine Tower Renewal Summit. Here’s the event description:

In this luncheon hosted by Manasc Isaac Architects, Woelfling will present on the renewal of the Peter W. Rodino Federal Office Building in Newark, New Jersey. The P3 modernization project utilizes a true re-skinning strategy, a first for North America. The smart skin increases energy efficiency, provides more effective fresh air ventilation, allows the building to be renovated while still occupied and dramatically transforms the building’s identity.

I was invited to the event and am looking forward to it. I’m not an architect (obviously) but I am interested in ways to transform Edmonton’s urban form, and this seems like a useful addition to the toolkit. Manasc suggests that “a reimagined building” (or a re-skinned building) can result in lower operating costs, reduced energy consumption, and improved day-lighting, among other things.

Some of you might remember Shafraaz Kaba’s talk at TEDxEdmonton last March, where he discussed the reimagining of the old Dell call centre building, now the Servus building. Here’s the before and after:

Servus Credit Union

Shafraaz pointed out that the benefits go deeper than just the exterior of the building. People are more productive when there is lots of natural light, etc.

One of the Pecha Kucha talks I remember most was Myron Belej’s from the very first PKN in Edmonton (slides in PDF here). He talked about Urban Color, and showed a before & after for a variety of Edmonton buildings. I remember being struck by just how much of a difference it can make when the building is not beige. Manasc Isaac’s ideas go beyond just color, of course, but I think the two are related.

Here are some more visuals from Manasc Isaac that demonstrate the re-skinning idea:

Stanley Milner Library
The Stanley Milner library downtown – it always comes up in discussions about redevelopment.

Chancery Hall
Chancery Hall

Associated Engineering
Associated Engineering building, apparently so ugly “it stops traffic in its tracks”. There’s a re-skin on the way for this building already.

If you’re interested in attending the event, you can register here. And if you’re in Calgary, they’re doing the event there too on November 10th.

6 thoughts on “Reimagine Tower Renewal Summit in Edmonton

  1. The concept photos are interesting, but it’s really unfortunate to see Chancery Hall used as an example.

    It’s a superior example of its architectural style (international modern) and the best modern building still standing on Churchill Square. Nearly all the others have been demolished, or defaced by insensitive renovation/addition — with the Library being the best example.

    There are many, many anonymous downtown highrises that could be re-skinned to greater effect.

    (As an aside, we should also be careful that our rebellion against the concrete aggregate generation doesn’t result in the demise of some of our best brutalist buildings. There are no examples of that above, but they could easily be caught up in the latest demolition/renovation craze and be lost — much as the infatuation with their design and materials in an earlier era caused us to lose our original Edwardian and neo-Classical buildings.)

  2. That’s a really good point. I went on the Capital Modern tour a couple of years ago, and it really does change your outlook when you understand (even just a little bit) what went into the building and what it represents.

    As with most things, I think we need a good mix!

  3. IMO I would be willing to give up the modern architecture of Chancery Hall. There are better examples in te city, and I’m not all that enamored with the airplane-style windows.

  4. I prefer how the library looks now – the sleek 1970s concrete provides a glimpse of our past and I think it looks better than the new sketches.

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