Bing Thom was asked to design a parking structure for the university that wouldn’t take up valuable campus space, but would also centralize parking and help reinvigorate the campus. The solution was to place the parking garage underneath the existing playing field, burying the garage partially into a hillside. This places the playing field on the same level as the gothic Heritage Hall – one of the centerpieces of the campus – so that the building does not obstruct views of the historic 1921 building. Soaring twin glass pyramids rise up from the garage, providing and atrium and staircases down into the parking levels.
The east and south facades of the garage are left exposed to pull in natural daylighting and ventilation in order to reduce energy use from mechanical systems. To facilitate the ventilation and daylighting, but also make the structure more aesthetically pleasing, a giant metal screen encloses the parking garage. Artist Roderick Quin and his company Ombrae oversaw the design and fabrication of the metal shade screen. Thousands of holes are strategically punched through the metal creating a giant pixelated art work that depicts and blends in with the Alberta sky.
“Through our design, we tried to humanize what might otherwise be just an enormous, soulless structure,” Bing Thom explains. “What we’ve done, essentially, is turned a quotidian building type into something that becomes part of the landscape in a simple and elegant way,” states Thom.
Images ©Nic Lehoux/Bing Thom Architects