Text description provided by the architects. In a city known more for gentrification and newness, the community of Inglewood – Calgary’s oldest neighborhood established in 1875 – exists as an anomaly in the urban fabric. Caught in a time capsule, the community is comprised predominately of industrial typologies that have long sat dormant, obsolescing to the modernization of production, fabrication and manufacturing. However, in recent years Inglewood has witnessed rapid transformation as young start-up companies, breweries, galleries and restaurants are moving in and creatively reanimating the outdated building stock. This renewed sense of optimism prompted our client to purchase a forgotten, leftover piece of land straddled between a CP rail line to the south, an army surplus store to the east and an access road and parking lot to the north and west.
Our point of departure for this project involved taking an inventory of the various local industrial typologies to produce a taxonomy of possible formal strategies. From this taxonomy, we began to explore an array of the shed roof typology that, while being contextually sensitive, provided a contemporary response through the distortion of scale, juxtaposition of materials and the playful reinterpretation of traditional tectonics. The building is wrapped in the east-west direction with standing seam metal, forming a container or wrapper within which the material palette transitions to brick, bookending the north and south facades.
The tension created from this material shift pays homage to the beauty and craft of Inglewood’s industrial character without succumbing to kitsch or historic pastiche. The ghost-like skeletal frame that completes the building’s massing serves multiple functions; 1) it disguises the drive aisle that accesses the rear parking and loading area, 2) through the deployment of an innovative, tent-like structure the skeletal frame transforms into a covered outdoor space for pop-up markets, live music, cultural events, etc. This introduction of spectacle transforms the building into an inclusive, community-oriented building that celebrates the diversity and eclectic nature of Inglewood.