West Campus update

The University of Calgary began the final selection process for an architect to take control of developing the west campus lands as master planner this week.

The four finalists made presentations this week before a selection committee. The committee evaluated each firm’s ability to create a sustainable plan for the 80-hectare space that is also congruent with the university’s overall vision and goals for further expansion.

“The notion of raising the bar is fundamental,” said Brian R. Sinclair, dean of environmental design and special advisor to the president on design.

With the opening of the new Alberta Children’s Hospital Wed., Sept. 27 and scheduled completion of the Early Childhood Development Centre and Ronald McDonald House in early 2007, the university is making plans for the future of the west campus area.

“We first need the master plan from the master planners,” explained Tony Myers, special advisor to the president on strategic initiatives and executive sponsor for the west campus development. “We are striving for a university town, where one can live, learn, work and play in a sort of ‘messy vitality.'”

Low-cost housing was at the forefront of presentations, as the west campus may be developed for residential uses in addition to further educational and research facilities. The development of these uses will also be in the hands of the master planner.

“We need to look at how everything is going to fit together,” said Myers, mentioning the west campus could create a closer university community.

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects proposed working with pre-existing buildings to create an atmosphere of indoor and outdoor coexistence with an emphasis on integrating the architecture with the landscape. BSN is one of four companies bidding on the contract.

“We want to develop a living plan that people are excited about,” said Gary Sampson of BSN in his proposal to the selection committee.

The decision concerning the master planner will be made this week following the conclusion of presentations.

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