What was old is new again at the King Edward School in South Calgary, where extensive renovations are turning the century-old sandstone landmark into the first art incubator of its kind in the city. cSPACE Projects, a non-profit real estate enterprise, is capitalizing on the building's inherent historic bones to accommodate a mix of event, meeting, exhibition, and gallery spaces.
The 47,500-square-foot facility will become an artistic launchpad for hundreds of creatives who can collaborate with their peers and access a number of specially designed spaces under one roof. Supported by The Calgary Foundation and Calgary Arts Development, the project has already amassed a long list of likeminded tenants, including The Alberta Craft Council, Quest Theatre, RANDM Collective, and numerous emerging individual artists.
Many of the defining characteristics of the 1913-built school, which shuttered in 2000 due to declining enrolment, have been preserved. The old rectangular windows have been maintained, and inside, chalkboards in the former classrooms are remaining in place. The school's long hallways boast 13-foot-high ceilings, providing artists with the perfect opportunity to showcase their art to their colleagues and the public.
A modern addition on the west side of the school will confer flexible contemporary spaces including the 'Treehouse', a 1,160-square-foot facility bathed in natural light that doubles as classroom and conference space. The slick glass attachment will also host a purpose-built, 123-seat studio theatre. The grounds of the complex are also sources of inspiration — a park dotted with public art by local YYC artists acts as a platform for spontaneous and programmed performances, public markets and film screenings. A 95-unit assisted living complex is being built on the eastern side of the lot, while the opposite end of the property gives way to townhouse development.
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