One Tower | 122m | 37s | Strategic Group

Calgcouver

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It's weird though. It seems like very few tower project - ever - have built great podiums. The Royal and Underwood being the notably best examples off the top of my head. I am sure there are technical / policy reasons that drive meh retail design in towers - combined with a incentive mis-match ( i.e. Developers: "retail is great, but my main job is build a 400 unit apartment building"). Is it the tower form itself that sets up podiums to be meh? Perhaps too much of the main floor devoted to serve residents above, parking ramps etc. that force trade-offs? Is it MacLeod Trails general lameness that makes all these towers feel like they are missing something on the main floor?

This one isn't that bad, it's just more of the same. Boring and hard to imagine an interesting tenant or service being based out of it. Surely we don't need Royal-level retail designs/scales all over, but there has to be a happy medium between modernist-boring and mega-city urban format. What gives?
The design guidelines for podiums need to set much harder rules on materials, breaking up the monolithic blocks created out of these podiums by creating historically scaled facades out of the podium that mimic the visual rhythm of a human-scaled street and building.
Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 9.47.34 AM.png

These design guidelines are ok on materials, but don't go into how to break up the massing and create podiums that feel of an appropriate and human-scale. Eg. of podium treatments i feel work:
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The feel of the street should at least mirror the historic buildings in materials, scale and visual rhythm to build podiums that feel like they are even informed by the place they are in. Podiums should feel like the good parts of Inglewood or Stephen Avenue, and should be made of attractive/permanent materials, and the tower should be stepped back and inoffensive looking. South Bank in Inglewood looks like it will be a good example of how a podium should look and feel.

Podiums like what are being built at West Village Towers should killed on the spot. That level of design and the podium treatment are horrendous, and should be killed at UDRP.
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This podium is also unacceptable;

As is this:

All are sterile, feel oppressive and monotonous, and don't break up the scale and mass of a large building's podium, and use shitty materials and design that isn't informed by traditionally scaled buildings that have always created appealing streets.
 
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1875

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i was stopped at a red light on 9th ave this morning in front of the west village towers and was trying to figure out who possibly could have thought that sloped podium was a good idea. its totally senseless. not to mention all the other bad aspects that are probably explained away just by it being 9th ave.
 

Mountain Man

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Sloping the podium is fine, you just have to make the best use of the space. Think how cool a big sloping roof would be if it and the podium were mostly glass (vision glass, not Cidex's obsession with spandrel) and you could look up at the towers from inside a coffee shop that's full of natural light. Instead we get this awkward podium with very little glass and a mess of ugly cladding. Just a poor design, again by NORR.
 

Urb

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The design guidelines for podiums need to set much harder rules on materials, breaking up the monolithic blocks created out of these podiums by creating historically scaled facades out of the podium that mimic the visual rhythm of a human-scaled street and building.
View attachment 188308
These design guidelines are ok on materials, but don't go into how to break up the massing and create podiums that feel of an appropriate and human-scale. Eg. of podium treatments i feel work:
View attachment 188309
View attachment 188310
View attachment 188311
The feel of the street should at least mirror the historic buildings in materials, scale and visual rhythm to build podiums that feel like they are even informed by the place they are in. Podiums should feel like the good parts of Inglewood or Stephen Avenue, and should be made of attractive/permanent materials, and the tower should be stepped back and inoffensive looking. South Bank in Inglewood looks like it will be a good example of how a podium should look and feel.

Podiums like what are being built at West Village Towers should killed on the spot. That level of design and the podium treatment are horrendous, and should be killed at UDRP.
View attachment 188313

This podium is also unacceptable;

As is this:

All are sterile, feel oppressive and monotonous, and don't break up the scale and mass of a large building's podium, and use shitty materials and design that isn't informed by traditionally scaled buildings that have always created appealing streets.
I agree with most of your points, except for this: "The feel of the street should at least mirror the historic buildings in materials, scale and visual rhythm to build podiums that feel like they are even informed by the place they are in."

Mirroring historic buildings leads to the tasteless faux heritage design aesthetic that is frequent throughout Vic Park. I have often heard it referred to as Stampitecture, which is well qualified. Successful North American cities do a great job of mixing old with new. Calgary is still trying to figure out what it is.

Lastly, I find the Raymond Block (pictured above) quite bland. Wexford's experience is in strip malls primarily, so hopefully they'll get better with each project.
 

Calgcouver

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I agree with most of your points, except for this: "The feel of the street should at least mirror the historic buildings in materials, scale and visual rhythm to build podiums that feel like they are even informed by the place they are in."

Mirroring historic buildings leads to the tasteless faux heritage design aesthetic that is frequent throughout Vic Park. I have often heard it referred to as Stampitecture, which is well qualified. Successful North American cities do a great job of mixing old with new. Calgary is still trying to figure out what it is.

Lastly, I find the Raymond Block (pictured above) quite bland. Wexford's experience is in strip malls primarily, so hopefully they'll get better with each project.
I agree about Raymond Block, i just thought it was a meh example of staying with the rhythm of the buildings on Whyte Ave. I understand the concern about faux heritage, but the design guidelines at the time of Stampitecture scarred most peoples perception of what. I am not saying faux heritage design per se, but that the scale of the podium of these towers have a rhythm and makes you perceive the massing/heights of the buildings are comparable to that of streets in the city that have appropriately scaled buildings (Burns Block, 9 Ave is a good example) and modeling the scale of podiums around that form to break up the massing and make it feel like a traditional street. Also using similar types of high-quality/permanent materials and having transparent glazing at grade.

Here are some better examples of buildings designed to a traditional scale with traditional materials can look like, while modernizing the design:
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Podiums like what we see on One Tower, or really any tower development in Calgary (the Underwood has an ok podium) is a podium that doesn't respect the scale, materials or design that has ever made for an attractive street frontage in Calgary. It is not informed by the place, it is not innovative in terms of design, it is just cheap materials that is scaled inappropriately and the street presence/feel suffers because of it. That is why the new Chinatown proposal is so attractive and innovative, it is informed by the materials/scale and streetscape that surrounds it.
 

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