The great walls of Teknion

The Bow, a 58-story tower currently under construction in Calgary, is set to redefine the modern office tower. This is the first time a triangular diagrid system (similar to the one on the exterior of Chicago’s John Hancock building) has been applied to a curved building in North America. Scheduled for completion in late 2011, its arched shape provides clear views of the Bow River Valley, the Bow River and the Rocky Mountains, bringing the outside in for its lucky occupants.

The tower is also home to one of the world’s largest installations of Teknion’s full-height, demountable wall products; in fact, if all of the Altos walls used were assembled in a straight line, they would extend about 32 kilometres. Altos will be used throughout the 58 floors to define individual offices, collaborative workspaces and meeting areas.

Cheryl Wheatley, Teknion’s national sales manager, wall products, recalls the process of winning the project: “We embarked on the most comprehensive demountable wall evaluation ever undertaken and worked hard, collaborating with the tenant and renowned industry leaders — Foster + Partners, Gensler, Matthews Southwest Developments, and the Ledcor Group of companies — to customize our product and create a comprehensive manufacturing and logistics plan.” Says Tim Wasley, Teknion’s wall product sales support manager, “When we won the project, we broke out the champagne, but then went straight to work because a project this size requires an extremely complex manufacturing and installation plan.”

Once the Bow is open for business, the reconfigurability of the Altos wall will quickly become apparent. Not only can Altos be easily moved, but the wall fascias themselves can be easily switched out to meet changing functional or aesthetic requirements. The inherent flexibility of Altos is a testament to why demountable walls have become the fastest growing segment of the contract furniture industry.

“The scope of the Bow project is unprecedented,” says Frank Delfino, Teknion’s president of worldwide markets. “This is not just about winning an initial massive contract. It’s about the beginning of a long-term relationship. For the next 25 years, as integral business partners, we will work with the tenants of the Bow to meet their evolving needs.”