UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Lethbridge City Hall Kimber, Russell Alan


The project is a new city hall for the city of Lethbridge, Alberta, intended to replace the current building which was outgrown over twenty years ago, forcing several departments and city council to be housed in separate buildings. Past proposals for a new city hall have been confined to the current location in the Civic Centre, located on the periphery of the central business district. The primary objective of this project, however, was to create a city hall that was a successful public building, functioning not only as a setting for civic functions and ceremonies, but also as a place of everyday gatherings and activities that would contribute to the vitality of the city. For this reason a site was chosen downtown, on a block across from Gait Gardens, a park that at one time was the early coal mining settlement's town square. Once the commercial centre of the city, the blocks around Gait Gardens contain many heritage buildings, including the original city hall building. As retail activity moved to other locations the area and the park went into general decline. The block chosen as the site was cleared in 1965 and is currently occupied by a supermarket and a parking lot. In recent years the City of Lethbridge has made plans to reestablish Gait Gardens as the heart of the downtown area. Part of this strategy includes a radical redesign of the park itself which destroys much of its original formal plan. Locating an important public building, like City Hall, adjacent to the park would be a positive contribution to the revival of the area. City offices wrap around a wind-sheltered courtyard and large interior public space in order to fill up the block and to allow the building to come out to the street. The original twenty-five foot lot lines that ran east-west across the site govern the location and dimensions of major building elements. A tower, housing chimes and wind driven panels, marks the ceremonial entrance facing the park. A restaurant and small retail outlet are located along the west side of the building to support activity outside city hall hours. The southeast corner of Gait Gardens is redesigned to become a public plaza. Its main feature is a square reflecting pool and skating rink that corresponds exactly to the dimensions of the city hall courtyard. The park otherwise retains its original character and layout.

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