Creating Community Character, Cindy Stephen – Calgary Herald

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Density without great public space is like a house without a kitchen. There’s just no heart.

Luckily, condo developers in Calgary are recognizing that people need somewhere outside their homes to congregate. Whether it involves building a plaza, planting trees in a park or reshaping the sidewalk, there are huge opportunities to foster public engagement while building a legacy for the community at large.

In the case of Avli on Atlantic, a condo project underway in Inglewood, the architect recognized that there was very little public space along 9th Avenue S.E. So, he set about designing the seven-storey, 64-suite building to create some.

“With the House and Hound, the historic Inglewood fire hall next door, already set back from the street, we set Avli back, as well. There is a tight retail edge on the west end of the building, however about 40 per cent of our building frontage on this significant part of 9th Avenue is set back, creating a recessed plaza,” says Jeremy Sturgess, an award-winning
Calgary architect who designed the initial firehall renovation in 1969.

Sturgess, also involved in the redesign of the 9th Avenue Bridge and in the future Green Line Inglewood Station, believes the plaza will become “a living room in the public street.”

“If the street is the corridor, then the plaza is the sitting room. A place to have a coffee or a beer and catch up with people,” he says.

Visually, the design of the plaza will be a treat as the set back is right where 9th Avenue S.E. bends slightly. Passersby won’t help but notice Avli’s striking glass interior walls and glass elevator.

“The plaza will add to the engagement of the street, particularly at night,” Sturgess notes.

Avli has just 23 units left, priced at $350,000 to $1.5 million. There are also five ground-floor retail units with live/work units that will have separate entrances at the rear of the building. Sturgess says in the future, as a plan emerges to create more density along 9th Avenue S.E., the community’s back lanes will be more active and interesting as current garages are converted to residential structures.


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