Top Projects 2011: Institutional/Winner


The new TELUS Spark (Telus World of Science) in Calgary is the first multi-purpose science centre in Canada in more than a quarter century, offering visitors the chance to put their imagination to the test-regardless of their age.

The building was designed to be highly efficient and sustainable while at the same time being comfortable to be in, being attractive and allowing visitors to enjoy plenty of natural light. The use of displacement air ventilation, radiant cooling and heating, along with the reuse of rainwater for toilets and a host of other initiatives have resulted in a sustainable building targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. Among the features:

  • Extensive reuse of water, including a rainwater storm pond for irrigation.
  • Radiant wall panels are used extensively for the heating and cooling of spaces, reducing energy use and increasing cost savings.
  • Minimized waste removal and the recycling of the majority of the waste.
  • Regional materials were sourced and used in various areas of the project.
  • Building materials were reused materials wherever possible.

With its dramatic design, the new centre is both technically and structurally complex.

For example, the structural steel skeleton includes a highly complex digital dome theatre component and 45-metre long, 10-metre-high atrium trusses that were erected in single lifts. The building envelope is made up of highly efficient insulated metal panels and curtain wall to provide access to natural light.

A structural steel framework that includes perforated metal panels and programmable LED lighting has been constructed outside of the building walls to provide some solar shading, protection for the metal panel walls and architectural interest.

To deal with the complexity, CANA Construction used Building Information Modelling technology on certain areas of the structure.

Perhaps one of the most complex elements of the building is the 3-D dome theatre. This theatre is expected to be one of the world's most advanced facilities and will be used for presentations, performances and the screening of 3-D films. The 70-foot-diameter dome theatre is at a 26-degree tilt and was designed to function as both a live performance and projection theatre.

There are many other things that make the project stand out. Some are tangible. Others are not so obvious. In its nomination, CANA offered this observation:

"The key to the success of the project was the collaborative effort made by all the team members to plan, organize and coordinate the work for the project. This team focused on finding and developing the innovative ideas for the project in order get the best possible result for the new science centre."

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