DIALOG designs new public science centre in Calgary
Telus Spark, completed in October 2011, is the first new science centre built in Canada in the last 25 years. It is intended to be a destination, an important public amenity, which has the capability to build and strengthen 'community'. It is the promise of an architecture which builds connections to and strengthens the broader urban condition. The design was developed with an over-arching commitment to environmental sustainability and education, reflecting the dynamic, growth-orientated and forward-thinking character of the city.
The project incorporates the use of regional building materials, a compact building massing, low window-wall ratios, a solar shading strategy, effective water and energy management plans and a fully integrated landscape solution. The project is seen by the client as an opportunity to educate visitors on the environmental issues that shaped the building design and the methodologies utilised in the construction process. Environmental strategies incorporated in the project have become part of the interpretive program through an electronic building dashboard and permanent exhibition elements.
The innovative mechanical system approach for the facility has its roots in European design techniques. The ventilation system design contributes significantly to enhanced indoor air quality and acoustics. The ventilation system and the radiant cooling technologies optimise occupant thermal comfort. The systems are energy efficient by minimising fan power and utilising hydronic cooling and heating. Stormwater is captured and reused to flush toilets and urinals. One of the most challenging aspects of this 13,500 sq m project was to provide a facility that is memorable, youthfully exuberant and dynamic, both from a distance and up-close, within a limited budget.