Best Tall Building 200-299 meters Winner: Telus Sky, Calgary
Design Development Director
Bjarke Ingels Group, New York City
A Northern Light Points to a New Way of Life
Calgary is a city built on the boom-and-bust cycles of oil and mineral extraction and has never had much living in the downtown area, generating the North American model of suburbs surrounding a 9-5 office core. Telus Sky attempts to change the paradigm by placing high-rise residences on top of a well-proportioned office tower base. Both the office and residences share amenities like the rooftop terraces and public areas in the building, and generate a programmatically diversified city with activity throughout the day and night. The tower is a housing building articulated to fit the needs of individual units with an ideal floor depth, combined with a very efficient, simple, and column-free office building. As the building rises, the floor plates gradually reduce in size, stepping back to provide slender residential floor plates with nested balconies. In a similar fashion, the texture of the façade evolves from smooth glass at the base of the building to a three-dimensional composition of protrusions and recesses. The building's expression is a combination of spaces for working and living, ultimately giving the architecture its unique sculptural shape and vertical elegance—slenderness on the skyline.
At the entrance is a spectacular double-height lobby with an 11-story vertical atrium and wall garden, connecting the two buildings and also enhancing air quality in the public realm. Space within the lobby is reserved for music and cultural events, becoming an extension of its role as a cultural amenity in the city with Northern Lights, an LED-based art installation by artist Douglas Copeland, animating its façade, and inviting the public into the building.