Talisman Centre Addition

Calgary, AB
Construction Cost: $18 million (Canadian)
Area / Square Feet: 160,000
Occupancy Date: December 2003

A public facility mandated to provide national-level sports development, recreation, wellness and rehabilitation facilities, the Talisman Centre is an icon of the City of Calgary, occupying a prominent location within the downtown core. Its idiosyncratic form of tensile fabric roof stretched over an arched spine creates a memorable view of this city landmark.

In operation since 1982, the center’s growth has translated into usage rates that have exceeded original design capacities by a factor of four, thereby placing great pressure on its ability to deliver services according to its charter.

The challenges of adding a significant space to the existing building were considerable. The shape of the existing building — with its curving perimeter walls, delicate roof structure and the disposition of its spaces dictating the location of new additions — made new building connections technically and visually challenging. The designers responded by inserting two new buildings that provide connections to the existing structure, allowing it to retain its identity. While very different in form, both buildings are closely related in their use of materials and approach to spatial composition. Each exhibits formal expressions by drawing on the dynamic forms of the existing building, but each is strong enough to maintain its independence next to the imposing shape, accomplished in part through the use of large, panelized surfaces clad in Rheinzink profile metal.

A gymnasium located on a secondlevel suspended slab hovers over a lower level containing the fitness center and physiotherapy suite. Naturally lit by “seam” windows in each corner that separate the four “leaves” of the curving building walls, the center provides welcoming views of downtown from its park-like setting.