The Telus Sky tower creates a lively mixture of living and working spaces in the heart of Calgary city center. Situated at the intersection of light rail and arterial roads, the 60-story mixed-use tower is designed to seamlessly accommodate the transformation from working to living as the tower takes off from the ground to reach the sky. 

Downtown Calgary has developed as a typical North American city center with a cluster of corporate towers surrounded by a periphery of low-density suburban homes. The car is an essential part of everyday life moving people in and out of the city, with the programmatic uniformity of the downtown leaving the area empty at night as people return home. By stacking the homes on an office tower, Telus Sky generates a programmatically diversified building with activity throughout the day. 

By remaining faithful to the orthogonality of the ground floor, the diagonal shift creates a pixelation of the façade, forming terraces and balconies for the residences. The smooth transition from the ideal floor plate of the office to the optimal floor plate of the residences, generates an elegantly curving silhouette. A network of skybridges enters where the building meets the neighboring building, an existing switching station. A vertical canyon expands the semipublic network upwards. The tiles on the wall of the adjacent façade seem to melt and peel open as pockets for plants. 

Above the main entrance, the pixels of the façade extend beyond the site limits, creating a series of canopies, terraces and lounges interwoven across the corner. At night, a 160,000 sq ft art installation ‘Northern Lights’ by Douglas Coupland lights up the north and south façades of the tower making it the largest public art piece in Calgary. 

Underscoring the functional design of the building, it was critical for Westbank and the city for Telus Sky to provide holistic benefits for its inhabitants, including: the highest levels of natural light, optimized energy efficiency, reduced water consumption, locally sourced materials, and access to transit. A LEED Platinum building, TELUS Sky provides 100% fresh indoor air supply and the highest levels of natural light in the Calgary market; consumes less water and other resources than comparable towers; and in its construction and operation, sourced materials locally. Respite from the urban environment of downtown can be found via the rooftop garden as well as vegetated terraces on the 4th, 5th, and 6th levels. 

“Telus Sky is designed to seamlessly accommodate the transition from working to living as the tower takes off from the ground to reach the sky. The base and lower floors of the mixed-use tower are clean and rectangular, resulting in large efficient layouts for workspace. As the building rises, the floor plates gradually reduce in size, stepping back to provide slender residential floor plates with nested balconies. In a similar fashion, the texture of the façade evolves from smooth glass at the base of the building to a three-dimensional composition of protrusions and recesses. The resultant form expresses the unification of the two programs in a single gesture—rational straight lines composed to form a feminine silhouette. Surrounded by blocky skyscrapers occupied by petroleum companies, Telus stands like a lady in a cluster of cowboys.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner and Creative Director, BIG.  

Additional information: 

A storm water management system recycles rainwater for use in washroom toilets and urinals, reducing the building’s municipal water demand by 70 per cent. 

A thermal energy system designed to efficiently transport hot water through an underground network of insulated pipes across the city, resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in heating energy demand. 

100 per cent fresh air ventilation with operable windows and exterior terraces – even on office floors. 

Windows designed with robust envelope and triple-pane glazing to decrease solar transmission and promote greater shading within the building, contributing to a 35 per cent reduction in building energy use compared to similar size developments. 

A living green wall in the 11-storey atrium to improve air quality and provide occupants and visitors with a connection to natural elements. 

Comprehensive fitness facilities including a wellness center with a yoga and barre room, on-site secure bicycle storage, and electric vehicle charging stations. 

source: BIG