News   Apr 03, 2020
 7.7K     3 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 8.5K     0 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 2.8K     0 

Legislature Annex

If we're sharing pictures, here's one showing the unique teal ALKO glass that covers its exterior. On a sunny day you're able to make out the the hexagonal strengthening wire in it:

Alberta Government Telephones H.Q. Alko Glass.jpg
 
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?

Short of chaining yourself to it, writing a letter addressed to both your MLA and the Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda - and encouraging as many others to do the same - is probably your best bet.
 
if they want to clean up the legislative grounds, they should be investing in the annex and blowing up the terrace building.
What I've heard - Terrace has so much reinforced concrete (and far more than needed for current spec) that demolition costs are just a tad high. The Annex on the other hand was judged to be failing in the 80s and not worth renovating and recladding (there are renderings of it with gold glass) at that time because of the need for a down to the concrete rebuild and because the core to usable floorplate ratio is quite bad.

I will still miss the Annex though. Had the best office in there!

If I was the government though, I would keep the annex for a few years and relocate the offices out of the west wing of the legislature there to do a systems upgrade to put in air conditioning and other upgrades, then afterwards toss the annex.
 
Imagination suggests that the Annex could be redesigned saving two facades and adding to the other two a tiered structure that would give the over-all a whole new character while yet preserving the distinct history in proper measure.
 
The facades failed in the 70s/80s and were never properly fixed. The HVAC along the curtain was massive - 2 feet deep and maybe 36, 40 inches high. You could pour money into it and it would at best be a building with a similar colour palette.
 
^ ^^

you don't necessarily have to upgrade the existing curtainwall to solve many of the problems with the building... you could add a "second skin" 24- 36" outboard of the existing envelope and integrate it into an updated, more efficient mechanical system like manitoba hydro place in winnipeg or a prairie version of traditional middle eastern structures.

you could even take that a step further and extend that second skin or envelope in one or more directions to provide a real winter garden on the legislative grounds like the british museum's "great court" except it would be external to the main building instead of an interior atrium.

as for the terrace building, maybe it doesn't even have to be completely demolished but maybe just demolished to grade at the top and leave the remainder to be used under a new lid or deck that would be an extension of the existing grounds and provide better views of the legislature building itself from the south.
 
Last edited:
I guess you could do that, but it would still be as nonfunctional as today with no interior distinctiveness and an HVAC system that would fight the second curtain every single day. In the office suite I worked in we had to be extra sure to not run a toaster and the coffee machine at the same time or else half of a floor's power would go out.
 
I just think the only reason to save it is the heritage value, and the heritage value is only in the curtain wall, and the curtain wall is one of the things that needs to change.

Maybe can save a spandrel panel and if you want to build a new building in the future, use it as a sample to replicate the colour

The province doesn't need the office space. .
 
it might be arguable whether the province “needs” the office space or not but either way there is plenty of leased office space they could surrender if that’s what it takes not to lose yet another piece of our heritage. it’s less a question of need and more a matter of values.
 
I have never understood the hate for this building in particular. I have always loved it, and I hope they find a way to save it.
 
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?

a bit late to this because i guess i hadn’t logged on here for a few days but i was deeply saddened by this news when it hit last week. the leg annex is one of my favourite high-rises in edmonton and i’ll echo dane’s comments. i never understood the hate for this building and you make a good point addressing the “out of place” comments. it’s as if people just want the leg grounds to be some immaculate beaux-arts preserve that really doesnt exist anyways.

this building is a great modernist structure, with a bold teal colour that stands out quite nicely on both the grounds and in the skyline. it’s scale is also good within the grounds (not too tall).

it really just needs some love. i’d rather they got rid of the terrace building, as that building is truly generic and and an utter eyesore, yet somehow that building is being rehabilitated...
 
As a modernist, I love the building and will be heartbroken to see its destruction however logically its at the end of its useful lifespan and the location ought to be converted to park space for the time being. Yes the building DOES look horribly out of place, but then again when you go back into the old Edmonton General Plan's from the 1960's, a whole series of new buildings was proposed to be constructed between where it and the Federal Building is now. In fact, anywhere north of it where there's an open space was planned to have an office block for provincial employees. That was until previous governments decided to privately lease office space around downtown in a more decentralized fashion rather than concentrate their workers in a specific cluster around the Ledge... Mixed feelings on that, TBH... Compromise option? Take down the tower, preserve it and then rebuild a hybrid/replica somewhere else in the vicinity... The Alberta Hotel option if you will... ;-)
 

Back
Top