Date: 2013

Status: Lecture, Exhibition

Location: Calgary, Canada

Program: Office, Retail, Preservation

Size: 260 000m2

Exhibition: Brutal Intentions - Building Curiosity

Lecture: Re: Education - Dtalks Iconomy, Pecha Kucha Volume 3

Team: Jessie Andjelic, Philip Vandermey


Hourglasses is one of three proposals that uses maximum development as a means of preservation. Twin towers introduced to the existing composition maintain axial relationships, while providing a promenade of public spaces. At the point the towers touch in the middle, a mixed use program inhabits an elevated “plinth”, and the CBE is reimagined as a space for shopping - a private use invading a public monument.

The Calgary Board of Education building (CBE) is a 1967 concrete building of a type that typically (even if erroneously) falls into the category of ‘Brutalism’, a style that is popularly understood to have emerged from and is often associated with Le Corbusier’s béton brut. Similar buildings include Mosche Safdie’s Habitat as well as Arthur Erickson’s Museum of Anthropology and Simon Fraser University.

1967, also the year Montreal hosted Expo ’67 (and the site of Safdie’s Habitat), was Canada’s centenary. Due to this fortuitous timing, ‘Brutal’ buildings (the title Heroic has been suggested by a group of architects based in Boston, in order to redress errors in nomenclature) came to be associated with an identity that was somehow Canadian while also forming a connection to an international movement at a moment in history that the public sector was optimistically realizing works of visionary architecture.

The proposals developed by SPECTACLE recognize the vulnerability of these buildings - they fall into a ‘Black Spot’ in history since they are too new to be preserved, but too old to be popularly desirable for reuse - but also their value as representative architecture of an important moment in both national and international history.

shopping of man

Shopping of Man.

(Family of Man Sculpture by Mario Hubert Armengol, 1967).


 The Invasion of Shopping.



 The Invasion of Shopping.


axonometric site plan

longitudinal section

A raised common space provides elevated retail and cultural program. Reprogrammed Calgary Board of Education Administration Building stands in for the ubiquitous tower plinth.


hourglass from the street

Calgary Board of Education or Calgary Bored of Education? Shopping provides a new and exciting lunchtime destination!