University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape opens downtown design lab

Calgary’s newly renamed School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape has officially opened an innovative research hub in downtown Calgary: the City Building Design Lab.

Photo Courtesy of University of Calgary School of Architecture Planning and Landscape

The hub was made possible through a partnership between the school, formerly known as the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS), and East Village master developer Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), announced in December. The downtown location is in the Castell Building, the city’s former Central Library, with a five-year lease agreement generously provided by CMLC.

Students occupy the main floor and basement of building. The CMLC has made an investment of $1.5 million for the program over the next five years. The lab and the programming this funding provides will give students unique opportunities to connect with the building industry and community as they explore how innovations in design, construction and operational management can work together to make cities more resilient, equitable, vibrant, prosperous, and healthy.

Photo Courtesy of University of Calgary School of Architecture Planning and Landscape

“The City Building Design Lab is structured to function as a hub for trailblazing research and collaborative discussions about the future of city building,” said, University of Calgary President, Dr. Ed McCauley. “By connecting students, faculty, industry professionals, entrepreneurs and city officials, the City Building Design Lab will cultivate the next generation of talented innovators who will transform our natural and built environments for work, rest and recreation.”

The space will serve as a catalyst for civic transformation and facilitate teaching, learning and research in architecture, planning, and landscape architecture.

According to Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, CMLC has been leading the transformation of East Village (EV) over the past 10 years and much of its success can be attributed to innovative place making initiatives and partnerships that have activated the community.

Photo Courtesy of University of Calgary School of Architecture Planning and Landscape

This research hub offers a collaborative space in which entrepreneurial approaches to city building and growth can be explored.

“We’re focusing on three major grand challenge thematic areas: Designing Out Waste, Metropolitan Growth and Change, and Cities for All,” said John Brown, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. “In Designing Out Waste, for example, we’re using circular economy principles to reduce or even eliminate the concept of waste in construction and operation of buildings.”

Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design states that the lab will contribute to the growth of the city by continuing to diversify the economy, revitalize downtown and create new jobs.

“I’m excited to see the Castell Block activated in this way,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “It’s smart and thoughtful partnerships like this that help us execute on our economic strategy. Students will have the opportunity to learn city building in the heart of downtown, we support local talent and business, and bring new life to one of our most important corners.”

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