Medicine Hat, Alberta
In the year 2001, one of the key developers for which Alvin Reinhard Fritz Architect Inc. provided architectural services determined to pursue an entry-level market in condominium design. The challenge that was faced in the context of this mandate was making the entry-level product look aesthetically well-appointed, and deluxe even though the product was highly economical.
One of the concepts employed was to reduce the ultimate width of the building to less than the parking structure beneath it. Parking dimensions are unrelenting regardless of the jurisdiction, due to the geometry required to maneuver vehicles in and out of parking stalls. Given the price point sensitivity of the suite design, it was necessary to reduce the project width in order to achieve an adequate window-wall ratio relative to suite size and in order to make the suite design viable.
Simple rectangular geometry tends to lend itself to economical design, and in order to overcome a mundane look in the context of this geometry, the building mass was articulated through the addition of balconies. The façade was also articulated by stepping the materials in an art deco style fashion, enhancing the building elevations and making them attractive. In addition to the concept of simplified geometry, the building design was based on a modular system of twelve-foot increments, further adding to the cost-effectiveness of the project.
The final touch for the building design consisted of a handsome hip roof with dormers expressing the balconies, and a cupola accentuating the conflux of the hip roofs.