Project: The Calgary Centre for Global Community

Client: Arthur Clark, M.D., and Jamie Taylor

Architect: Marc Boutin Architect—Mike DeBoer, Jerry Hacker, Robyn Robertson, Mauricio Rosa, Adam Scales, Matt Stanley, Phil Vandermey, Marc Boutin (project team)

Engineers: Read Jones Christoffersen (structural); A.D. Williams Engineering (mechanical/electrical)

An urban lot just south of downtown Calgary, bisected by Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks and surrounded by mid- and high-rise buildings.

A 25,000-square-foot community center with a gallery, garden, lecture hall, and movie theater, as well as a telecommunications center where schoolchildren can gather and teleconference with peers in other parts of the world. A large-scale plaza extending under the rail tracks and a garden, which meanders over the tracks, reunite the two sides of the site and the city.

The concepts of communication and education are central to the mission of the proposed center, and the architecture of the center embodies these concepts in part by serving as a bridge across railroad tracks that divide the site. The building forms a cocoon around the rail lines, dampening noise and reclaiming the space above as a garden and below as a plaza. Four concrete cores support the span over the tracks and provide services to the center.

The garden and plaza are designed to be accessible at all times, and a largely glass curtain wall ensures that passersby will be exposed to some of the information on display in the galleries within. Sections of operable curtain wall offer a different kind of connection between the inside and outside worlds, as a passive sustainable heating and cooling system.

While the building knits the local community together, it also stands as a global prototype: The center may be the beginning of a series of networked institutions.

The Architect

Firm: Marc Boutin Architect, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Principal: Marc Boutin

Employees: 7

Year Founded: 1999

Recent Work: The Varscona Theatre, Edmonton; Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, Calgary; Eau Claire Public Space, Calgary