Project of the year


The one-of-a-kind Emergency Operations Centre is a dual winner, both in the Institutional-Under $50 Million category and in the new category of Sustainability.

The Calgary project is an attention grabber for what you can't see-two of its three storeys are underground. The lower-profile building blends seamlessly into the neighbouring park and buildings in the primarily residential area. Having the building underground also increases security and reduces energy requirements for heating.

Designed to achieve Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Gold certification, the 50,000-square-foot concrete facility was built using the best available environmental design practices to minimize the impact of the building on the natural environment. Sustainable strategies included reusing existing materials. For example, the glulam beams that were removed from the on-site Rotary Park Community Hall before it was demolished were reused in the media pavilion on the east side of the site. About 87 per cent of the project's waste was diverted from the landfill.

A very high-performance waterproofing and building envelope strategy was required to ensure the underground building is waterproof. This was achieved by a belt-and-suspender approach using conventional sheet waterproofing, and with a bentonite waterproofing additive in the concrete.

Other unique aspects of the centre include the on-grade media pavilion, a large green roof and an art wall in the outdoor space. This project also resulted in the development of a new glass cladding system that has been commercialized by the glazing trade.

The facility, which houses the City of Calgary's disaster services unit and a new state-of-the-art operations room, is also self-sustaining for up to 72 hours, providing off-grid power, water, food storage and cleansing areas to help personnel deal with emergency situations.

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