Top Projects 2008: Institutional/Winner


A lover of words and the great outdoors, the late Honourable Lois Hole, former lieutenant governor of Alberta, would be proud of the library that bears her name. The 25,238 sq. ft, $10-million Lois Hole Library is the greenest library in Edmonton and will ensure that the west end's rapidly growing population has access to books and other materials for years to come.

The late Stephen Barr of Barr Ryder Architects designed the building with a particular theme in mind. "They wanted to bring the outside inside, because Lois Hole was such an environmentalist. She loved the outdoors, so we wanted to bring the warmth of outside in," says Kevin Kramers, director of facilities and operations for the Edmonton Public Library.

That means lots of natural wood and stone, including glulam timber supports. Glulam, or glue-laminated, timber is a renewable resource and those used in the library were produced by a local company, contributing to the building's green status while evoking nature indoors.

Numerous other features combine to make the building environmentally sustainable. Rainwater from the roof goes through a filtration process and is used in the washrooms.

Light shelves capture light and solar gain in the winter but limit solar gain in the summer, taking pressure off the high-efficiency mechanical systems. Energy use is also reduced because sensors on the operable windows-an uncommon feature in such buildings-communicate with the building's mechanical systems; heating and cooling is automatically scaled down in rooms when windows are opened.

Heat is produced by over four km of pipe running through the concrete slab. Interestingly, the slab was poured in a single pour over one 24-hour period.

"This will probably be the largest pour many of the workers will ever pour at one time," Kramers says.

The library also uses natural lighting to its advantage. Automatic sensors control the interior lighting, turning off lights in areas receiving enough light from outdoors. Edmonton Public Library has met the requirements of LEED Silver on the project and is pursuing gold-level certification. Pentagon Structures was the general contractor.


At 45,000 sq. ft, the $12.7-million Baitun Nur (Ahmadiyya) Mosque in northeast Calgary is the largest mosque in Canada, boasting an array of buildings on 3.86 acres.

The completed complex features a prayer hall, multi-purpose hall, exhibition area, dining area, commercial kitchen, library, classrooms, and administrative areas. Topping it off: a spectacular stainless steel dome and impressive 97 ft minaret.

To achieve the architectural, cultural, and environmental goals of this type of project, Manu Chugh Architect Ltd. and general contractor EllisDon Construction Services Inc. worked closely with owner Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (Ont.) Inc. The design is culturally based but maintains an architectural connection to the neighbourhood. Exterior stucco, for example, allows the new mosque to blend with the community while retaining a distinctive character.

The key consulting engineers were RC Park Engineering Ltd. and DFK Engineering Canada Ltd.


Heavily damaged by fire five years ago, the grand old Michener administration building in Red Deer could easily have been razed to make way for a modern structure. That would have been a shame as the building-constructed 95 years ago to house the Alberta Ladies College-had historical significance.

Working wit h John Murray Architectural Associates Ltd., Timcon Construction (1988) Ltd. of Red Deer took on the role of general contractor. Timcon project manager Don Finch explained that while the original building was constructed of structural steel and had wooden floors, the restoration transformed it into a concrete structure.

"After all the raft slabs, concrete columns, and structural slabs were poured, we cut the structural steel support out of the building," he says. The $10.2-million project means the building will have a new beginning as the David Thompson Health Region Corporate Centre project.

Consulting engineers were Bearden Engineering Consultants Ltd. (structural), Kroening Consultants Ltd. (mechanical), and TWS Electrical Engineering Ltd. (electrical).


The $47.2-million vertical expansion of Rockyview General Hospital's Highwood Tower, completed in May, added 104 much-needed beds to one of Calgary's busiest hospitals. But there were plenty of challenges, including that the existing building had been designed for one level, not three.

Another big challenge was keeping the existing building waterproof while constructing the new building directly above. During construction the existing roof was kept intact until the new addition was completely closed in. The old roof was then removed and construction could begin on that level.

Working with Stantec, the architect, and consulting engineers Read Jones Christoffersen and Weibe Forest Engineering, general contractor Cana Management used structural steel and semi-lightweight concrete to complete the project.

The focal point of the exterior is the three circular stairwells that rise above the roofline of the building and are visible from all directions. The stairwells, Cana points out, concealed a massive structural steel framework that provided the moment frames for wind and seismic loads imposed on the structure.


Often overlooked in construction projects is the demolition of old buildings. But when space becomes a premium, which it is in Calgary, such projects take on an even greater importance.

The second phase of the Calgary Courts Centre project involves the demolition of the nine-storey Court of Queen's Bench building and construction of an underground parkade with an urban park on the site. Hazco Environmental Services is no stranger to such jobs. In 2004, Cana Construction Ltd.-general contractor on the Courts Centre project-hired Hazco to demolish the old Calgary Court House.

The estimated $13-million Phase 2 portion of the project contains a big environmental element. Hazco says all brick concrete and metal materials from the former Court of Queen's Bench building will be recycled. Also, planners with Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. incorporated an irrigation system using rainwater captured and stored on the new Court Centre's roof to water the park's greenery.

Cana points out, concealed a massive structural steel framework that provided the moment frames for wind and seismic loads imposed on the structure. Other project highlights include the diversion of more than 70 per cent of construction waste from landfills and the excavation of an estimated 70,000 cu. m of materials, to a depth of four storeys.

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