Status: Design Competition
Location: Medicine Hat, Canada
Program: Office, Housing, Retail, Parking, Public Plaza
Team: Jessie Andjelic, Philip Vandermey, Marina Tolj, Justin Loucks, Chris Herman, Chris Yap, Kinan Hewitt
Collaborators: Manasc Isaac Architects
The Coulee was the result of a two-stage competitive process, including an invited design competition at the second stage, which resulted from a self-initiated downtown revitalization study undertaken in 2013 (see Thinking Hat).
In order to respond to the complex program (the office spaces also include expansion areas for the City), the surrounding landscape, the manufacturing history as well as various building scales, the form of The Coulee zigzags across the site and steps back in both directions to create bowl-like conditions that relate to and frame the surroundings. Vertical step-backs also reduce the potential for a linear wall to the south of the street in this cold weather climate.
A narrow building depth maximizes light and views while also virtually eliminating central double-loaded corridors. Each office employee and building resident enjoy double orientations to the South (sunshine and views over downtown) and North (views to the Riverside Veteran’s Memorial Park, City Hall and the South Saskatchewan River). Through-building retail units also enjoy access from both directions, and a central passage connects to a new crossing that reconnects downtown with the river. Office spaces are arranged for maximum flexibility over time, with three efficiently sized compartments of approximately 1000m2.
The housing benefits from reduced building depths towards the top. Most units have two levels, with private sleeping areas arranged over living areas. Each floor has a generous outdoor terrace.