Woof! That black cladding is awful, the white panels would look better smoothed out. Overall Sarina is producing some pretty ugly buildings between this and ID, primarily due to colours and material choices. Really wish they used a black brick like this Westbank project in DTES in Vancouver (Top part of the building), it would've been miles better and not felt so cheap.
I can shed a bit of light on the material choices here! The wood was chosen because they wanted to include some natural elements into the facade. The colour of the stained wood on the balconies helps to give the facade a bit of pop in the otherwise black and white colour scheme, they were definitely not an afterthought! Other material options like longboard and sagiper were investigated and I think that the natural cedar was the best option (looks wise). As for the comments about the brick, it is really easy to sit in a forum and say "the developer should have used all brick!". For projects to actually be financially viable in the current market, you have to make some design decisions based on cost. Brick is really expensive on a per square foot basis so developers are forced to come up with alternatives. The black aluminum paneling is not cheap either and it provides a good break in the stucco cladding and adds another premium priced product to the building. The side elevations definitely could have had the stucco broken up more as they do look a bit blank in the finished product. Not to set the bar too low but there are much worse outcome on many low-rise buildings in the inner city, think hardie panel with exposed chrome fasteners.....
While we're on the topic of the price of bricks, I've heard they're much more expensive in the west because they're manufactured in the east. Is there any truth to that? They are certainly ubiquitous in the east - definitely not limited to higher end developments as they seem to be here in Calgary.
Hmmm, I'm not sure about the manufacturing location question.... I do know that brick is expensive from both a supply and install standpoint here (its a long, tedious install), but I don't know exactly all of the inputs contributing to the supply cost.
I really like the black metal panel on this project but that is totally subjective, I get that it doesn't resonate with everyone!
I know IXL had a plant in Medicine Hat that flooded 5 - 10 years ago and never re-opened. I'm sure there are other manufacturers in the area, seems odd to ship something across the entire country that can be manufactured locally.