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Legislature Annex

Daveography

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Let me take you back to the Edmonton of the early 1950s, a city on the brink of the future.

It was just a few years after the Leduc No. 1 oil strike of 1947. Edmonton was in the grip of a boom, filling up with postwar immigrant and refugees streaming into Alberta, looking for a new life.

Between 1946 and 1953, Edmonton’s population exploded, growing almost 60 per cent. It was a time the city felt bold, creative, ready to take a risk on modernity.

And so, in 1951, Alberta Government Telephones commissioned a remarkable new building as its headquarters: sleek, futuristic, avant-garde.

Designed by H.W.R. (Hugh) MacMillan for the Edmonton firm of Rule Wynn and Rule, it was the first curtain-wall building in the city, and one of the first in Western Canada.

dd-friday-november-4-2005-page-a17sw-thursday-march-3.jpeg

The former AGT Building was radically avant-garde, when it opened in 1953. Now it needs a new vision. KIRSTEN HOFBAUER / EDMONTON JOURNAL

The structurally independent exteriors walls were made of green Aklo glass, set between plate glass windows. It was also the first building in Alberta that was built upon poured concrete pilings instead of structural steel — though that was less a design choice than a necessity of postwar steel shortages.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
 

kcantor

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^^

this is demolition by neglect combined with a lack of imagination...

it's been on the same path as the remand centre and the old ram and the massey ferguson building and the coliseum for a long time, all soon to leave us with the same legacy as hemingway's central pentecostal tabernacle and the arliington and the kelly ramsy building and the minchau building and 1st and Jasper and a host of others before them.

if they want to clean up the legislative grounds, they should be investing in the annex and blowing up the terrace building.
 

kcantor

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I imagine a major issue could be asbestos. Still, the Alberta Treasury Building g is being re-sided.
asbestos is a boogey man when it comes to discussions like this. you need to fully remediate before you can undertake the demolition. at that point you might as well restore.

saying you need to demolish because of asbestos is often the excuse of the day but in fact it's an excuse that, like the emperor, isn't wearing any clothes.
 

archited

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This International-style building is as important to Edmonton's historical repertoire as any other -- to demean it as insignificant is w-a-a-a-a-y off the mark. There are many ways to preserve and advance this building if someone capable of actually thinking would know!
 

thommyjo

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Honestly happy about this. Maybe I just don't value the history enough, but the views from Symphony are wrecked by the hideous teal facade of this building. The legislature grounds are so beautiful, except for this building.
 

_Citizen_Dane_

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I’ll echo the sentiments of most people here: the building’s loss will be felt. Objectively it’s one of the most important buildings in Edmonton and the province (yes, even more important than older and “better” designed Edwardian buildings). Nearly every high-rise built here since owes its existence to the old Alberta Government Telephones Tower. It was a proof-of-concept for all post-war developments and was a real trendsetter, being Alberta’s (and one of all of North America’s) first tastes of modern glass curtain wall construction. It was also the first building in the province to make use of concrete pilings. It’s connection to both A.G.T. and Rule, Wynn & Rule, the firm that designed it, also make it particularly noteworthy.

Any argument that it’s a Modernist blight on a traditionalist-styled grounds is a humorous, but weak defence of this action given that the grounds themselves are nothing shy of incoherent. You have the Beaux Arts Legislative and Administration/Bowker Buildings clashing with the Art Deco Federal Public Building, clashing with Early Modernist Frederick W. Haultain Building, clashing with the Modernist A.G.T. and Terrace Buildings, clashing with the Brutalist landscaping. The whole ground’s a mess — yet, it’s all the better for it. Take a fifteen minute walk around it and you’re exposed to all of Alberta’s most prominent styles in one place.

I’ll also say something radical: is more green space at the Legislative Grounds really necessary? Because that’s what I’d have to assume is replacing it, right? And I’m sure people are reading that and thinking “but Dane, this is the Legislative Grounds we’re talkin’ about here, surely more is needed.” But again, is it? The park to the east of Legislature Building is almost always dead. Except on the warmest of summer days, the park at the rear of the building is usually quiet. While not green space per say, more programmable space was just added in the form of the Federal Public Building Plaza. Can we really judge the A.G.T. Tower’s demo as necessary when what will replace it isn't?
 

Platinum107

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I agree, this building needs some love is all, not to be destroyed. I want to fight against it being demolished, but I'm not sure how I'd go about that. You guys have any ideas how that process might happen or could start?
 

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