The City of Medicine Hat held a design competition for two mixed-use buildings with a common podium and courtyard. The site is strategically and beautifully located diagonally opposite City Hall, overlooking Riverside Memorial Park and the river. The sophisticated program calls for a mixed-use building that includes retail, commercial and residential development.
The public realm of our proposal, the courtyard, is a Public Market. A Public Market historically is located in proximity to the City Hall, and as such, can be the catalyst for an urban/civic retail experience that supports unique destination retail uses including restaurants, cafes, and specialty boutiques that highlight local industry and artisans.
Two flanking retail frontages ground the building. On market day the lane will be alive with market uses and support services that overflow from the market square (the courtyard). When the market is not in operation the semi-enclosed courtyard will serve as outdoor seating areas for the adjacent restaurants.
Four levels of residential units sit atop the podium. Units flank the courtyard. The roof of the eastern end of the commercial podium is a semi-private residential courtyard, which overlooks the market square below. A grand stair connects the market square to the commercial and residential levels.
The relatively narrow section of each building flank and the tall floor-to-floor heights offer increased access to sunlight and ventilation for all levels. The shared courtyards and walkways with stoops at each entry provide a shared sense of ownership and community to the public spaces that do not exist in a conventional double-loaded corridor development. Green roofs top the project, and together with the courtyard, verandas, balcony and walkways provide a high percentage of outdoor space within a dense development. Changing uses of the courtyard space offer a dynamic vitality that is supported by these uses: a community within the heart of the City.