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A flexible parkade in Calgary

As a general rule, I believe that our cities should be striving for less rather than more parking. Which is why it still baffles me when allegedly progressive cities continue to mandate ludicrous parking ratios (even when the sites are next to transit). You know who you are.

But if you absolutely have to build it, the new 9th Avenue Parkade + Innovation Centre in Calgary is a good example to look to.

Designed by 5468796 Architecture in collaboration with Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning, the project does all of the things to ensure that it doesn’t look ugly today and it doesn’t need to remain a parkade in the future once we all switch over to electric scooters and flying autonomous vehicles.

Some of the moves include 4m floor-to-floor heights and generally flat floor slabs that only rise 1-2%. This was done so that the floors can be more easily retrofitted to residential and/or office in the future.

And in fact, this flexibility already gotten proven out during the design process. Originally the ~335,000 square foot building was going to be entirely parking. But then an innovation centre called Platform came to the table for 50,000 sf, and a portion of the building had to be converted to flexible office space.

Let’s hope this trend continues. But in the meantime, here are some pretty pictures:

All photos by James Brittain.

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