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An Awakening

When CaNAD Real Estate bought three dated Class B buildings on the corner of First and Jasper Avenue, the gateway of Edmonton, they challenged DIALOG to enhance the corner and bring unity to a disenfranchised urban space. What materialized was high-design that animated Edmonton’s downtown core.  

Edmonton, Alberta

The History

‘First and Jasper’s’ pre-existing buildings had closed off facades with little to no street presence. They had no access to the Light Rail System (LRT), or any kind of connection to Central Station on Jasper Avenue ­the gateway to Edmonton's downtown core. The corner wasn’t attracting any pedestrian activity either. Something had to be done. Cue DIALOG’s multidisciplinary design team. In keeping with the revitalization master plan of Jasper Avenue, DIALOG’s approach has increased density and created a more livable, walkable and inviting downtown through a connection to the LRT’s Central Station. The revamp animates the exterior of the building with retail spaces set in a contemporary and inviting façade. The building’s first floor has been brought to life through a modern interior that’s in conversation with the geometrical expression of First & Jasper’s envelope.

From Class B to A

CaNAD’s goal was to fully lease the rejuvenated building within three years of completion. Their sights were set on elevating the building experience from Class B to Class A. We worked with a Class B building budget, for a Class A space. Working as an integrated design team enabled us to blur the lines between the exterior and interior spaces. The results exceeded expectations. How did we do this? Simple, the interior design team applied high design concepts by specifying less expensive materials to achieve the final aesthetic, like large stone-like porcelain floor and wall panels in place of limestone. The resulting revitalization was so popular that all rental spaces were leased within one year. The modernization of the atrium’s exterior composition offers ample interior light. The entry’s geometric sense of grandeur is as inviting as it is unconventional, setting itself apart from the rest of the street, attracting people into the space. Sophisticatedly playful, the internal space is a compliment of white, wood and porcelain. These three elements are implemented with intention: to create a clean aesthetic.  There is a power in the solid white-space that’s used for the walls and most pillars. The slatted wood panels act as spatial dividers and are used overhead as a form of wayfinding. The embedded lights are intentionally set at an angle to play off the geometry of the external façade, and their glow is a warmer tone than the ceiling’s overhead lighting. This makes the predominantly white space softer and more welcoming. The sophisticated design concept found in the lobby was woven through the elevator lobbies of all floors, unifying the tower’s spaces for a complete makeover. The faceted zinc floor-to-ceiling wall against the west wall draws people to the elevators, while the generous interconnected staircase invites occupants and visitors to the second floor; a benefit for First and Jasper’s retailers.

Animated Corner

Our multidisciplinary team worked together to solve the complicated needs of the site. Our Urban Planners, Architects and Interior Designers imagined a place that truly reformed old into new. The space today is inviting, attractive and has organically, fostered a vibrant and thriving community. First and Jasper is an example of successful urban recovery.

Project facts

Size: 3,691 sq. m.
Cost: $15.8 Million
Completed: 2013
Collaborators: KFR Engineering, SMP Engineering
Builder: Ledcor
Client: GE Real Estate