Towering over Edmonton

 Edmonton’s first downtown office building in 20 years recently held its official opening ceremony. Located at one of the gateway entries to the downtown core, this 30-storey building (28 occupied floors) forms one of the tallest and most distinctive structures in the city. The Tower incorporates a range of design, construction and operational features that go beyond basic energy savings to enhance occupancy comfort and improve overall efficiency and performance. Regarded as one of Canada’s most environmentally advanced buildings, EPCOR Tower has been selected for profiling at the World Sustainability Conference (SB11) in Helsinki, Finland, between October 18 and 21.

Developed by QUALICO (development manager) with construction management services provided by Ledcor Construction, EPCOR Tower is designed by Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., AECOM (multidisciplinary engineering services) and EIDOS (urban design). Completed on time and on budget in less than four years, the building has a hard construction value of Canadian $235 million, not including interior tenant work, and provides 623,900 square feet of rentable space. From the start, the architectural and engineering teams worked collaboratively to develop a range of specific and sustainable design strategies for the tower, which is  targeting LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Kasian associate Christiaan Odinga is the lead designer and project manager for EPCOR Tower: “Skyscrapers have always inspired the public’s imagination, helping to define a city’s significance and identity, says Odinga. “A key consideration for the project team behind EPCOR Tower was the need to create timeless landmark facility that sets new standards in urban development for the 21st century.”

The tower epitomizes integrated design strategies at every level and embraces a number of unique architectural characteristics:

  • A distinctive building crown, inspired by the Chrysler Building in New York. This unique feature is lit at night by energy efficient LED lighting, which contributes to the City’s urban fabric and growing skyline.
  • Large 250-square-foot balconies on the north and south of the tower allow building occupants to enjoy light, fresh air and extensive views of the city’s river valley.
  • The extensive use of aluminum and blue-grey glass on the exterior facade of the tower complements the traditional colours of downtown Edmonton and ensures that this dynamic structure offers a striking silhouette within the city’s skyline.
  • A series of large earth tubes iabove the main core footing of EPCOR Tower use geothermal energy for both pre-cooling and pre-warming. As a result, ventilation air is drawn in to the main fan room at a temperature of 6°C degrees, regardless of whether is 35°C above or 35°C below.
  • The lobby provides 40-foot-high grand space that incorporates casual seating, retail opportunities and scope for art exhibitions. A specially commissioned art sculpture by internationally-renowned Edmonton artist Dean Driver will enhance the building’s lobby space.

EPCOR Tower is a landmark project for the City of Edmonton for significant economic and environmental reasons.  The tower is the first in a series of four high-rise structures to be built on a 9.2-acre site on land previously operated by Canadian National as a railroad.  The overall development of the site, now known as Station Lands, covers four contiguous linear city blocks and will eventually provide more than 2,500,000 square feet of office, retail, hotel and residential living in a fully integrated downtown environment.  The quality, diversity and magnitude of Station Lands, which is designed to permit both horizontal and vertical construction phasing, has been one of the most anticipated developments in the region and is expected to attract new business and investment opportunities to the city core, positioning Edmonton as a leader in urban revitalization in North America.

Ken Cantor is the manager of QUALICO’s Commercial Division in Edmonton and the developer of EPCOR Tower. “The opening of EPCOR Tower is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work and dedication by the project’s entire design and development team,” says Cantor. “Their efforts were matched by the pride of workmanship included in the 1.4 million hours of trade work that it took to execute that vision. Together we have created one of the most attractive and efficient work environments in the country.”