In 1997, Sturgess Architecture won a national competition to design a masterplan for the redevelopment of the former Calgary General Hospital site. Working closely with the local community association, a housing plan was established for 3000 people focusing on an eight acre local park – the new centre of the community. As a function of the masterplan, a future community hall was located on a strategic corner of the site.
Sturgess Architecture was selected to design the community centre in 2003. A major urban design initiative of the park was to cradle the play areas with a major built promontory on the west edge; the Community Centre mirrors the promontory on the east. Secondary to the cradling function, the building mass offered a definitive built edge to the new main pedestrian and vehicular street into the community. Mediating the site’s four meter drop from north to south, the building wall gradually reveals itself as the base of a terrace that overlooks the play fields, the lower level of which contains the public meeting rooms that open directly onto the park.
The corner of the development is recognized by a ‘lantern’ that functions as the community living room for small meetings. The intention is to present a building of substance and protection for park users, while on the street, the building has a more symbolic presence, emanating warmth on a cold night from the lantern, and functioning as a subtle urban edge to the park. This project was awarded a Calgary Mayor’s Urban Design Award in 2013.