The skyline in Calgary is unexciting, a boring collection of spec developer office buildings. Even Norman Foster’s Bow Tower is disappointing.
Now Bjarke Ingels, the rock star of architecture has hit town with Telus Sky, a mixed use 750,000 SF tower housing Telus, one of Canada’s big three wireless companies, and 341 apartments above. It’s going for LEED Platinum, with ambitious plans for energy reduction that include a “whole block energy sharing centre:”
TELUS Sky will also feature a storm water management system to recycle rain water for washroom toilets and outdoor irrigation, reducing water use by millions of litres per year. When complete, TELUS Sky will use 35 per cent less energy than similar size developments, setting a leading example in sustainability. Plans are underway to improve upon that energy efficiency, with the goal to have the final development use 80 per cent less energy than similar developments.
Ingels has written: Our world could be much more accommodating, ecological and enjoyable than it is; our cities could be more fit for human life, more adaptive to the specific climates where they are located. The reason they’re not is that there are interests that are unconcerned with the common good, and not invested in creating the best world possible.
There is not enough information to tell exactly how this building is more adaptive to the very cold climate of Calgary; It looks like a lot of floor-to-ceiling glass, with extra surface area and corners by all that jogging of the facade at the top. There is always that question, Can an All-Glass Office Building Really Be Considered Green?
But like much of Bjarke’s work, it certainly has a visual presence and will improve that skyline. In the press release, Premier Redford said “Today’s announcement is a reminder to all Calgarians that they live in a truly world-class city that is getting better by the day.” Perhaps it is.
By: Lloyd Alter