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Urban Fragments-Award of Merit

Architect: Shelterbelt Architecture
Project owner: Bernard and Helina Boisvert

Location: 11805 94 St.

Project Description

This project transformed a former government office building that had damaged masonry stucco and an unkempt appearance into an eye-catching modern structure.
The project was initiated with funding from the City of Edmonton Facade Improvement program.

This structure created a unique condition where the west façade needed to be perceived as a roof. The building was unfortunately clad in masonry stucco that was damaged from intentional abuse and water infiltration.
Security bars made the storefront and access doors inhospitable. The previous tenant's business was cluttered with inventory and advertising signage.

After an initial assessment, the scope of work increased beyond the facade improvement to include a building envelope improvement and new roofing, mechanical and electrical systems. The building was stripped to the structure and re-clad with membrane, rigid insulation and galvanized corrugated steel.

The front facade and deep entry recesses are finished with mosaic tile in a mix of greys and blacks. The cladding materials were selected with durability and respect for possible vandalism in mind. The materials' dynamic form and pattern also add movement and interest to the urban environment.

The north lane wall has been painted in anticipation of a future mural. New storefront glazing and lighting on 118th Avenue ensures a transparent frontage that contributes to the area's renewal and security.

The renewed building has attracted a dance studio tenant with a retail storefront presence, active occupancy throughout the day and evening, and sophisticated signage that complements the new finishes.

Jury’s comments

  • Alberta Avenue is a tough neighbourhood and the project is a different/refreshing expression. 
  • It’s a “cool-looking” building with a stronger, more cheerful presence on the street than what is currently in the neighbourhood.
  • The understated context is very much appreciated. 
  • It’s a reveal, not a creation. The form of the building makes it interesting no matter what it inside of it.
  • The project may be improved with the introduction of some selective landscaping.




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