Today's construction industry has been shaped by years of booms and busts, technological advances and changing regulations. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Alberta Construction Magazine, we're taking a look at 35 of the people, projects and events that have made today's industry what it is. Here's a look at the projects:
Art Gallery of Alberta
Yes, but is it art? Many Edmontonians asked that question of the Art Gallery of Alberta when it opened in 2010. Notable for the swirling 190-metre steel ribbon that runs through the structure, Randall Stout's evocative design provoked diverse reactions from residents, who debated the architectural merits of the $88-million project with a gusto hitherto unseen outside of design colleges. As an artistic statement, the building is as bold and imaginative as anything hanging on the walls inside.
Enermodal Calgary office
Enermodal Engineering literally blazed the green trail in Alberta in 2007. As Canada's largest consulting firm exclusively devoted to creating green buildings, it should come as no surprise that Enermodal's Calgary office, located in the Mission district, was the first LEED-CI (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Commercial Interiors) Platinum certification in Canada. Green design elements include Forest Stewardship Council–certified framing, countertops and doors; lighting power density 35 per cent below American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers standards; and the use of recycled materials such as ceiling tiles, ceramic and carpet tiles, composite wood, insulation and steel studs. There are also green lifestyle incentives for employees, including bus passes, low-flow showerheads, and hybrid car and solar energy system rebates.
Alberta Airport Expansions
In 2013, Calgary International Airport welcomed a whopping 14.3 million passengers and became Canada's fastest growing airport. Over the past two decades, the airport has doubled in size and passenger volume. The $2-billion Airport Development Program includes two major projects and will be YYC's largest expansion to date.
Edmonton International Airport has also undergone major expansions. To keep up with the energy industry's developments, it is estimated the airport will need to add a third runway by 2025.
Fort McMurray Airport served almost one million passengers in 2012 with one terminal built to accommodate 250,000. The new $258-million terminal, scheduled to open June 9, 2014, will bolster YMM's capacity and accommodate over 1.5 million passengers.
Calgary and Edmonton ring roads
Residents of Alberta's two largest cities will not be surprised to learn that construction of both ring roads has been in the works for over 50 years. Undoubtedly, the seemingly never-ending projects have affected most people—whether inconveniencing them with road closures and detours or making their commutes easier than before.
The good news is there is an end in sight. Edmonton's last leg of Anthony Henday Drive, the northeastern portion connecting Manning Drive to 153 Street, is expected to be completed in 2016. And the city of Calgary has finally reached an agreement with the Tsuu T'ina Nation for land to complete the southwestern portion of Stoney Trail; however, a timeline has not been set.
Twinning of Highway 63
It's called the highway of death for a reason. Over the past decade, dozens have died on the perilous 240-kilometre stretch of road connecting the oilsands-mecca of Fort McMurray to the rest of the province. In that time, the province has been working on twinning the road, and efforts on the $1.1-billion project have doubled in recent years. Now 20 per cent of the job is finished and another 60 per cent underway as the government races to meet a completion deadline of fall 2016. Few infrastructure undertakings in Alberta's history have been as massive—and massively needed.
It's hard to imagine a commute through downtown Calgary or Edmonton without a light rail transit (LRT) line removing hundreds of thousands of people (and cars) from the roads each day.
Calgary's LRT line, affectionately called the C-Train, opened in 1981, and has had several kilometres of new track laid since. The line now transports passengers from as far south as Bridlewood to Crowfoot in the north, and a separate line moves people from 69 street on the west side of the city to Saddletowne in the northeast.
In 1974, Edmonton was the first city in North America with a population less than one million to construct an LRT line. The original route travelled from Belvedere to Jasper Avenue. Today, the route has grown in both directions, expanding north to Clareview in 1981, and south in five separate sections (1983, 1989, 1992, 2006 and 2010) to Century Park.
Construction of a separate line moving east to west across the city is in the planning stages, and three more lines are also proposed.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Named for a geologist who accidentally discovered the first dinosaur bone in the Red Deer Valley, the museum was first announced in 1980 and broke ground in 1982. Construction of the project, which includs a public gallery, display areas and educational facilities, took place over three years, with the 120,000-square-foot museum officially opening in September 1985.
The Glacier Skywalk, which opened May 2014, will surely induce vertigo as much as it inspires awe. Jaded travellers and thrill seekers will likely be drawn to the dizzying view from the glass-floored walkway hanging 280 metres above the Sunwapta Valley floor in Jasper National Park. Nature lovers may prefer to admire this award-winning project for its eco-conscious design, which deftly integrates the solar-powered, toxin-free structure into its surroundings. And everyone will come away with a brand new perspective on some of the most splendid natural vistas in Alberta.
MacDonald Island Park
Located in Fort McMurray, MacDonald Island Park is Canada's largest community recreational, leisure and social centre. Operated by the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, the park includes the Suncor Community Leisure Centre and the Miskanaw Golf Club. After extensive renovations, the current incarnation of "Mac Island" opened in 2009.
Construction of Shell Place, a $127-million expansion project that includes a sports and performance stadium, is currently underway. Clark Builders chose the Edmonton Eskimos' 2015 pre-game to inspire them to completion. The Northern Kickoff will be held at the new Shell Place on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Stantec Executive Place
Located in the heart of downtown Red Deer, Stantec Executive Place, a 12-storey, 112,000-square-foot commercial building, is Red Deer's first downtown high-rise.
With its modern design, wrap-around patio on the 11th floor and high-efficiency glazing system affording tenants wonderful views, the high-rise building is a vital addition to Red Deer's burgeoning downtown. Stantec Executive Place was developed by Beca Corporate Holdings Limited and constructed by Clark Builders.
The twinned highway between Calgary and Banff National Park provides motorists with a peaceful passageway through the majestic Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, it also provides a man-made barrier for wildlife, trapping bears, moose, deer, wolves and other animals on one side of the highway or the other.
To prevent road fatalities and increase the area in which wildlife can find mates, two vegetated overpasses were constructed in 1997, each 52 metres long and landscaped to mimic the surrounding vegetation.
The bridges were fabricated using precast concrete arches that could be put in place while traffic was on the highway—both for efficiency and economical reasons.
West Edmonton Mall
Covering a gross area of about 5,300,000 square feet today, West Edmonton Mall offers over 800 stores and services, including a waterpark, a rollercoaster, an ice rink and a live penguin exhibit. When the mall first opened its doors in 1981, it covered a mere 1,140,560 square feet and was considered the largest indoor shopping mall in the world with a place in the Guinness Book of World Records until 2004 to prove it.
Al-Pac pulp mill
Environmentalists worried about the effect on the Athabasca River. Taxpayers complained about generous government loans for the project. But when the Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. pulp mill began operations in 1993, the $1.3-billion project boasted one of the most efficient, environmentally friendly processes in the entire industry. Located near Athabasca, Alta., the mill whitens its pulp with elemental chlorine-free technology and burns wood waste in order to produce its own heat and power. At the time, it was the largest single-line kraft pulp mill in the world. To this day, it remains the largest in North America, with annual production of 650,000 air-dried tonnes of pulp.
Cowley Ridge wind farm
There were 1,120 megawatts of wind-power capacity in Alberta at the end of 2013—enough to make the province the third largest producer of wind energy in the country. It all started near Pincher Creek, Alta., at the Cowley Ridge wind farm currently owned and operated by TransAlta Corporation. Launched in 1993, this 21-megawatt operation bears the distinction of being the first commercial wind farm not only in Alberta, but in all of Canada.
Shell's Caroline Gas Complex
When the Caroline field was discovered in 1986, it was Alberta's largest natural gas discovery in 20 years, with raw natural gas and gas liquids reserves estimated at 56 billion cubic metres. Built over a period of 30 months at a cost of $1 billion, the Shell Canada Limited Caroline Gas Complex began operating in 1993. A major maintenance turnaround took place in 2012, which involved taking one of the two plants off line due to dwindling production. More than 550 contractors had a role in the turnaround, which entailed maintenance, inspecting and repairs.
As western Canada's tallest building at 58 storeys, The Bow is a sight most people notice when admiring Calgary's skyline. Designed by British firm Foster + Partners, the curved "c" shape of The Bow provides the employees of Cenovus Energy Inc. and Encana Corporation with dramatic views of the city, as well as the Rockies to the west of the city.
The 1.7-million-square-foot tower required the largest concrete foundation pour of its kind in Canada; poured continuously for 36 hours, it required approximately 1,300 truckloads of concrete and over 500 people to complete.