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A public passageway: exploring Calgary's Plus 15 system Sully, Nick O.W. 1998

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A PUBLIC PASSAGEWAY: EXPLORING CALGARY'S PLUS 15 SYSTEM by NICK O.W. SULLY B . A . , The University of Calgary, 1992 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R C H I T E C T U R E in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S School of Architecture We accept this^thus^s as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A October 1998 © Nick O.W. Sully, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of A ^ ^ U T G C T U f c E , The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date Q o f & j l<508 DE-6 (2/88) A B S. T R A C T The Calgary stroet-levcl Arcade preceded the Mall as a place of public exchange: During the first half of its history the covered arcadeacted as a buffer between the public street and private interior. The arcade extended me.vitality of the city street to the pedestrian. It was shelter from bad weather and vehicles, anda window into another world of consumable items. A shopper could peruse the' Just-.out of reach' at the Hudson's Bay or wait for a street car under the measured punctuation of the covered arcade. The public nature of the arcade reconciled.the individual to the group. It mediated the transition from the busy street'.to the beckoning shop window. Today merchandising strategies promise to develop a more efficient circle between shopper and commodity. Mall spaces are connectedabove ground with a maze of raised public walkways. Criss-crossing the original grid of streets at a height of 4;5 meters is the raised "Plus 15 System." Over the last twenty-five years, Calgary has extended one of the largest semi-private systems in the world through it's downtown core. This system replaces the public street with an interior analogy that is neither public nor private. Ground level street-life suffers a slow but definite decline and is not replaced. As the city experiences a period of extreme growth the opportunity arises to remedy the decline of the public realm In the process of development and gentrification a temporary set of urban artifacts becomes visible. The building crane, the site trailer, construction hoarding - this language of urban expansion is as tenable as the "architecture'' of the city itself. This thesis project will invigorate boomtown city growth with a new public architecture. The site is the back lane between 8* and 9"1 Avenues and Centre and 1st Street in the heart of downtown Calgary. This is one of many blocks yet to complete the Plus 15 labyrinth of public access-ways: Mid-block pedestrian bridges connect the south and east sides of the site with the rest of the city's Plus 15 system. Low-level heritage buildings and Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall wall the north side of the site while the giant Pan Canadian Building dominates the south. Running through the Pan Canadian Building is an existingpubUc right of way. Using current development as a spring board this project will suture the internal world of the Plus 15 to adjacent public and private fragments of the city. A steel "Frame" will accompany the current developer scheme for a hotel high-rise on the site. This frame reconciles the horizontal dimension of the original property width of Stephen Avenue Mall and the new vertical layering of the "floorplate skyscraper." Inserted into this ordered web is a lenporary housing system of prerbuik trailer boxes -- an appropriation of mefamiliar objects of construction: The A T C O trailer, construction hoarding and a "take-apart" kit of frame components provide a fertile base for the growth of the public '*tube". They furnish a temporary architecture while the new public walkway asserts itsipresence. ii A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T In the preparation of this thesis I was assisted by a number of people to whom I would like extend my most sincere thanks. To my committee; George Yu, Darryl Condon and Trevor Boddy for all of their time and thought. To Jana Tyner at the UBC Reading Room and Linda Fraser at The University of Calgary Archives for their invaluable research support. To Greg Beck at Leblond Partnership Architects in Calgary for access to plans and sections of the Pan Canadian Building and to Selwynn Reynolds at the City of Calgary for his time and literature on the Plus 15 Planning Policy. To Jack Long for building a door and to Trevor Boddy for kicking it open. To Phil Plowright and Brian Billingsley for their friendship and support prior to, during and after the thesis. To my parents for their continual support. And finally to my wife, Mariana Brussoni for supporting and inspiring me to finish what began as a very challenging year. iii ••'1 T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Title Page i Abstract ii Acknowledgment iii Table of Contents iv Downtown Calgary 1 Map 1: Built Fabric 2 Map 2: Interior and Plus 15 Space 3 Map 3: Interior and non-plus 15 Space 4 Map 4: Street/Parking 5 Map 5: Plus 15 6 Map 6: Sidewalks, Pedestrian Malls, Lanes 7 Map 7: Pedestrian Space: Plus 15 - Side walks 8 Map 8: Pedestrian Space 9 Map 9: Context Adjacency - Property 10 Stephen Avenue Elevations 11 Site Collage 1: Rear Lane looking East 12 Site Collage 2: Pan Canadian Tower and Adjacent Plus 15 Connectors 13 Site Collage 3: Stephen Avenue Mall looking South 14 Presentation Panel 1: "Downtown Calgary" - urban context analysis 15 Presentation Panel 2: "Parallel Development" - thesis parti 16 Presentation Panel 3: "Frame" - structural grids 17 Presentation Panel 4: "Plus 15" - plans, section & elevations of walkway 18 Presentation Panel 5: "Housing" - temporary housing trailers 19 Presentation Panel 6: "Exit" - egress from the plus 15 20 iv 2 3 Map 3: Interior non +15 Space scale 1:5000 4 Map 4: Streets and Parking scale 1:5000 5 6 UL GL 3bTJC]LTJL nnr ire Map 6: Sidewalks, Pedestrian Malls, Lanes 8 Map 8: P e d e s t r i a n S p a c e s c a l e 1 : 5 0 0 0 9 10 Map 10: Stephen Avenue Elevations scale 1:1250 11 Si te C o l l a g e ! : R e a r L a n e L o o k i n g Eas t 12 Site Collage2: Pan Canadian Tower & +15 Connectors 13 Site Collage3: Stephen Avenue Mall South 14 DOWNTOWN CALGARY Interior Street System (conditional) "The ground level of the torn Is raised tram 12 te 16 leet B V means el concrete plies which serve as foundations ler the nouses. The actual 'ground' of Die town Is a sort of floor, the streets and pavements as It were bridges. Beneath this floor and directly accessible are placed all the main services, at present burled In the ground and inaccessible - water, gas, electricity, telephone wires, etc." L o Cor busier, 1915- Towns Built on Piles Panel 1: Urban Context Analysis O i I L J ,i» i i Interior Space | ^ I I | ^ 1 | Potential Public Space 15 Panel 2: Thesis Parti 16 •"I - .... .. . i " | 1 1 ' HI B"I! » 1 ami mm MSUB m • mm m ~~ Panel 3: Structural Grids 17 18 Panel 5: Temporary Housing Trailers 19 P a n e l 6: E g r e s s f r o m P lus 15 W a l k w a y 20 

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