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Site Area:

Unit Count:

Calgary, Alberta

Mixed Use Residential w/ Commercial Podium

1 875 square metres

20 175 (square feet)

1 175 square metres
(0.29 acres)


This project is a conceptual study of a site on Centre Street North in Calgary, immediately north of the City’s downtown core.  Funding for the Green Line LRT project was approved in 2020, adding a major infrastructure upgrade to the area.  The study site is one of several immediately north of the Bow River that is suitable for redevelopment and densification to make use of the new transit resources.

Our study involved the adaptive reuse of an existing one storey commercial building, typical of the late 20th Century strip mall type buildings that line Centre Street. The question under consideration was whether or not it would be possible to re-use an existing commercial storefront and add residential density on top of it.  This scenario was of interest, as opposed to a complete demolition of the existing building and rebuild of the site from scratch.  Due to the proximity to the downtown core and the new transit line, the study contemplated a low-parking scenario for the site.  It was felt that the residential units would attract buyers who would not have their own vehicles.  The lack of need for a parkade was seen as an economic cost benefit to the project.

With a fairly small site area of 0.29 acres, it was determined that a 7 units per plate was a maximum size for the project.  Three residential storeys were proposed over the existing one storey commercial podium.  With a mix of smaller one bedroom and two bedroom units, the suite layouts envisioned maximum efficiency and value for purchasers.

Stylistically, it was felt that the additional levels did not have to mirror the existing podium construction.  Due to the setback of the upper floors, there was an opportunity for a natural break in the material strategy.  The visual differences underscore the concept that the project is an adaptive use densification, as the original commercial podium is still clearly visible.  The existing brick on the podium was proposed to be repainted.  Above, the new residential levels were to be clad in a terra-cotta material.  The colour scheme for the project was mix of white and light earth-tone materials.  Given the urban environment and lack of amenity space at grade, a private rooftop garden for the residents was included in the design. 

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