It would be a bit of an understatement to say that downtown Calgary is in the midst of a construction boom. Construction explosion, more like it. Nearly two dozen new condominium and office towers are under construction in the city’s compact centre; some are destined for obscurity but others, like Norman Foster’s The Bow, which will become the city’s new tallest building, are daring and ambitious in their design.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of the Le Germain, a hotel, office and condominium complex currently under construction at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Centre Street, right across from the Calgary Tower. I like that it subverts the plain-box archetype that has dominated Calgary since the 1970s; by taking two different boxes and bridging them with an bunch of glass condos, it creates an unusual building in a city that strays far too often towards the banal.
At the same time, though, it’s pretty ugly — but I guess it’s better to be interestingly ugly than pleasantly average.
Tags: Architecture, Calgary, Construction