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U.S. consultants prominent in $88-million remodelling of Art Gallery of Alberta

A boldly renovated Art Gallery of Alberta opened in Edmonton on January 31. What was formerly a 1969 Brut...


Remodelled Alberta Art Gallery in Edmonton. Photo by Robert Lemermeyer, courtesy AGA.
Remodelled Alberta Art Gallery in Edmonton. Photo by Robert Lemermeyer, courtesy AGA.

A boldly renovated Art Gallery of Alberta opened in Edmonton on January 31. What was formerly a 1969 Brutalist concrete structure has been remodelled into a sculpted zinc, stainless  and glass creation by Randall Stout Architects of Los Angeles, California.

The 85,000-square foot gallery located on Sir Winston Churchill Square downtown has three floors of contemporary and historical art exhibits, as well as 27,000 square feet of new public spaces. These include a new lobby, great hall, theatre, cafe, lounge, store and sculpture court.

According to the official description, the architectural design “takes inspiration from the city of Edmonton’s unique northern environment and urban grid. Angular windows are juxtaposed against a winding 190-metre steel ribbon that references the forms of the North Saskatchewan River and Aurora Borealis.” The three key materials — patinaed zinc, glass and stainless steel — are said, “to reflect Edmonton’s dramatic weather pattern and the extreme contrast of the long days of summer and the short days of winter, allowing the building to transform in response to its natural surroundings.”

Randall Stout won the commission to remodel the art gallery in an architectural competition held in 2005. On a list of 14 other consultants involved in Stout’s  building design, five are from the U.S., including DeSimone Consultants as structural engineers, and IBE as mechanical-electrical engineers.

Among the Canadian consultants are HIP (associate architects), BPTEC-DNW  (structural), Stantec (mechanical/electrical/plumbing/fire protection), Reed Jones Christoffersen (curtain wall), GHL (code), RWDI (snow, ice and wind), Digicon Information (specifications), ICX Solutions (commissioning), and EBA (geotechnical).

The completed building cost $88 million.