Historic Bank Gets Fit
From the first site visit to the finished product this space was both challenging and exciting. The chance to restore this historic building to its classic architectural heritage was the inspiration for the success of this project. Due to our respect for Architecture the good aspects of the project surpassed the difficulties. How can one not be inspired by the magnificence of this space.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Originally built in 1931, this landmark was one of the first bank offices in Canada. Its Neoclassical style boasts inlaid marble floors and walls, ornate brass handrails and doors, lavish gilded plasterwork and ornate brass and stained glass chandeliers. There
are two original vaults in the building complete with the original magnificent vault doors. One of the vaults was used to create the mens washroom in the locker room and the other is a rental storage room for those members that want to keep their gym entire in the facility.
The building had been vacant for a decade when it was decided to transform it into a flagship fitness club for Calgary Alberta.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The design and construction team were tasked with having to strengthen and expand the infrastructure of the building for a fitness club. The construction team reinforced the floor’s structural capacity to carry the weight and vibration of the fitness equipment, all while adhering to the strict heritage requirements.
It was through a collective group of design talent, construction management, project management and site supervision that this project met with overwhelming success.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
In downtown Calgary, Alberta Canada, the former Bank of Montreal building has been given a new life as a fitness center.The project was a pipe dream on the initial visit in 2012. Three years of restoration, coordination with the Heritage society and obtaining building permits was a long road but the outcome was worth it.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Interior Space and Exhibition Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The walls are adorned with hand-painted Neoclassic panels with decorative moldings and hand painted patterns. The banking hall’s center has a solid marble floor with inlaid borders which was hidden under various flooring materials and the original stairs were stripped of old carpet to reveal an inlaid marble pattern.
Since the original stairs to the mezzanine had been removed, a new granite and glass staircase was installed to access the mezzanine. The ornate brass handrails were installed and brass walls were carefully hand polished. Every effort was made to restore this beauty back to its glory days.
It is not often an opportunity such as this is given so the project team had fun with this restoration. It can truly be said there is not another fitness club like it in the world.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The facility is 86 years old and is predominantly from the Neoclassic Architecture era. Its 1,900 square meters spans across two floors and a mezzanine. The ceiling is 35 feet from the floor to the decorative ceiling. The exterior is limestone and is four storeys. It is a landmark in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Heritage restoration, Stunning, Unique, Breathtaking, Stimulating
The key lesson that was learned from this process was to never underestimate the challenges and costs associated with a project of this nature. The restoration process uncovered both opportunities and challenges to be carefully addressed. There was nothing routine or predictable about this heritage building and so the regular rules did not apply.
Sufficient time should be allowed to solve unexpected construction challenges. This includes finding trades that can do custom work, and long lead times to have specialized items delivered. Nothing in this building was off the shelf.
The design process for this location was more challenging than the other 350 plus fitness clubs the designers had completed but with extensive research and collaboration with the construction team the designers managed to pull it off.
TEAM MEMBERS (3) :
Designer: Lori Ireland, Square Feet Design Group Inc., Construction Management: Jeff VanHaeren, Trigon Construction Management and Architectural Technologist: Bob Miller, Square Feet Design Group Inc.
JoJoey Jo-Ann Photography Inc