Let's talk about...proximity

When
September 26, 2016

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Location
The St. Louis Hotel is an adaptive re-use of a century-old hotel into an event space. Renovated by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Nyhoff Architects' design transforms the 1914 brick building with a sensitivity celebrating the patina of the former structure. Century-old timber flooring is exposed as ceilings. Lightwells and a fortified structure flood the main hall with natural light. Windows are re-purposed as screens. A renewed sign of the former Cecil Hotel stands at the end of the main hall, radiating a soft hue of pink fluorescent glow.

Discussion
The panel brought ideas on multi-unit housing with the aim of exploring the ingredients of dense communities: from public space and private amenity to inclusiveness and diversity. Recognizing that living in close proximity with neighbours isn’t for everyone, the panel provoked notions of how density is experienced. What does density look like? How does it feel? The panelists pulled and tugged at notions of density: from Johanna Hurme’s illustrations of her former hometown in Finland and multi-family design alternatives, to Kevin Harrison’s distillation of the courtyard, starting with Calgary’s Connaught Gardens built in 1993, and finally to Urban Planner Mary Axworthy’s unveiling of the policies and goals around the blueprint for sustainable growth called Plan It Calgary. We realized that we needed another measurement for density. Dollars-per-square-foot or people-per-square-kilometre can’t capture how a neighbourhood feels. One of the ideas presented was measuring space in handshakes-per-square-foot.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Panelists
Johanna Hurme - 5468796 Architecture
Mary Axworthy - Axworthy International Consulting
Kevin Harrison - Sturgess Architecture
moderated by: Dustin Couzens - MODA Architecture

Interactive density installation prior to discussion. Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Interactive density installation prior to discussion. Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Support
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
Alberta Real Estate Foundation
Victoria Park BRZ

Continue the conversation
Find new ways to connect with neighbours and explore if handshakes or an alternate intangible measurement can be taken in your neighbourhood.

 

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz