Skyscrapers are a testament to architectural engineering. They help define a city and mark a moment in time with forward-thinking design and the latest revolutions in construction. While they usually remain structurally sound for decades, often exteriors experience failing materials, giving the once vibrant buildings a tired, outdated appearance. The challenge in modernizing these iconic structures is one architects are facing more often, as age and energy efficiency requirements are requiring them to rethink their approach to modernizing high-rises.
In 1970, Palliser One stood defiantly in Calgary, Alberta, as one of the developing city’s tallest buildings—a Brutalist tower clad in pre-cast concrete. Calgary has evolved into a thriving metropolis, but the landmark building faded in the skyline as the muted exterior started to fail. It was a problem that required a lasting material, one that could restore its grandeur and meet the sustainability goals of today. ALPOLIC Metal Composite Materials provided the solution.
Recladding is no small feat when a building stands 27 stories tall. Choosing the right material is vital. Not only does it need to meet the design intent, but it needs to hold fast. The design team at Gibbs Gage Architects chose premium ALPOLIC MCM. “ALPOLIC is a leader in the industry and a trusted name for quality,” said Jonny Hehr, managing director of design. “We get other alternatives presented to us, but when you read the fine print, you see that they aren’t made with the same quality materials or offer the same warranty.” Not all warranties are created equal. An in situ warranty protects the building owner from undue replacement costs when products fail to perform.
Refurbishment is often a much greener solution as well as a cost-effective one. In the cae of Palliser One, lightweight composite enabled the use of improved insulation while reducing the load on the wall, which created opportunities to turn the historic property green. Highly recyclable ALPOLIC is manufactured with sustainability in mind and was in keeping with the ideals of the building owners at Aspen Properties, who dedicated $13 million to the renovations in Calgary. In the end, the landmark restoration of Palliser One achieved BOMA Gold certification for its efforts in sustainability.
The new look of Palliser One is striking. One hundred fifty thousand square feet of ALPOLIC MCM in shades of white, grey, and black create a sense of movement throughout the façade. “The colors chosen change the building’s appearance throughout the day,” Hehr explained. Programmable LED features on each of the four corners enhance the luminescence and interact joyfully with the historic Calgary Tower. Though Palliser One is one of the oldest high-rises in Calgary, it is a building transformed. This rousing retrofit project has certainly pulled the building out of the shadows and reaffirmed its place on the skyline.