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Parkade of the Future & PLATFORM Innovation Centre

5468796 Architecture

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

November 2021


Sasa Radulovic (Partner-in-Charge, Design Architect)


Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning (Architect of Record), Scatliff Millar Murray (Landscape Architect), Entuitive (Structural Engineer), Smith + Anderson (Mechanical & Electrical Engineer), Aplin Martin Consultants (Civil Engineer


Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) & Calgary Parking Authority (CPA)


James Brittain


Great public infrastructural projects provide fundamental services for cities that increase the quality of life for their users. As means of transportation evolve, how can these projects remain essential over time? Parkade of the Future approaches this issue by designing multiple futures for a singular purpose building.

The ellipse creates a street-wide interior courtyard and 40-foot shallow floor plates, increasing daylight and ventilation from multiple directions. The imperceptibly shallow 1% sloped spiral creates an ‘infinite’, ‘flat’ floor plate within acceptable tolerances for class B or C office or light industrial space, and residential conversions can be achieved with minimal surface topping. Ceiling heights of 14 feet, clear spans, and universal load-bearing capacity create opportunities for gradual or wholesale changes with low-cost impacts. An elliptical floor plate is shorter than a typical rectilinear floor plate, requiring less concrete and increasing spatial separation at the curved ends, creating the ideal glazing scenario for future conversions.

The building frame is enveloped in a distinctive guard shroud, raised strategically around the perimeter to signal and provide entrances, and composed of recycled and recyclable raw aluminum. The shroud is clipped onto the floor plates, making them fully removable and reconfigurable to accommodate future transformations.

PLATFORM Innovation Centre occupies the first and second levels of the parkade, adding 24/7 community vibrancy to the street and courtyard. Introduced halfway into the design process, PLATFORM was the first test of the project’s adaptability and flexibility, achieved through deliberate use of removable scaffolding allowing multiple spatial reconfigurations.


Commissioned by CMLC and CPA, the Parkade of the Future sits on a 2.25 acre site on 9th Avenue in Calgary’s East Village, and consists of a 510-stall garage built to convert to office, light industrial or residential typologies based on future needs. The current state of the project as a parkade is understood as temporary until the need of personal vehicles diminishes, and the structure can be converted partially or entirely, gradually or expeditiously, to one or more uses.

The site is sandwiched between the railway and a six-lane avenue, near to a new Library, City Hall and the National Music Centre, and includes an unbuildable easement for an underground light rail tunnel which cuts through the middle of the lot and represents what the city determined as a 20% loss in buildable area. Building in the form of an elliptical helix bridges the easement and thereby recaptures the lost land value, and gives back the ends of the lot to future developments.

Vehicles enter at grade, directly over the easement, with clearances that allow for maintenance of the underground tunnel. The vehicle entrance is flanked by pedestrian and bicycle entrances, with public amenities such as a basketball court, a cafe, PLATFORM Innovation Centre entrances and an exhibition courtyard, organized by using spherical bollards, surface patterns and a traffic mirror ceiling. These elements activate the frontage along 9th Avenue SE and frame the southern edge of the developing East Village neighbourhood.


After solidifying a partnership with PLATFORM, an entrepreneurial hub for the city’s burgeoning innovation community, the adaptable design was put to the test – requiring conversion of the plan into a flexible office space that can be easily modified for individuals and groups, occupying the space on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly basis. Containing “accelerator” spaces, lecture theatres, and a variety of working spaces, the primary challenge was that the program will remain an ever-evolving target.

In response, the design consists of a flexible and familiar structure of clamp-and-tube scaffolding deployed to create the “pitch stage”, a nexus between the two levels, consisting of three amphitheaters with bleachers and a cafe underneath. The same system is used for a suspended infrastructural frame in the offices above, facilitating reconfigurations and communication/electrical/mechanical support for working pods. Users can easily access power from overhead, and arrange portable lights, furniture and walls to meet their needs.

Engaging public appreciation in a key cultural neighbourhood, the project continues the district’s reputation for strong design excellence — its functional aesthetic making regular appearances as a defining backdrop for Calgarians. It actively contributes to the design conversation of our cities – that conventions can be challenged to provide delightful, inspiring experiences that adapt with public values and environmental demands. The success of the project is the result of a diverse design and client team demanding more of the project brief and developing innovative, business-conscious solutions to integrate a long-term, iconic design into Calgary’s urban identity.

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