Optical Studio

Location: Lethbridge, AB

Year: 2018-2020

Status: Built

Type: Commercial

Client: Optical studio

For nearly 30 years the “Blue Block Building”, has been a sadly recognizable visage within the Lethbridge, Alberta cityscape. The structure was initially designed to be a warehouse and has served as such, undergoing little change besides the paint color. This was particularly unfortunate considering the buildings' prime location on one of the city’s busiest intersections. Located on the corner of Mayor Magrath Dr. S, the city’s main commercial artery, and Fairmont Boulevard S, the building was waiting for a new lease on life. 

Seen as the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the potential inherent in reusing an existing building, the goal from the onset was to set a new standard for revitalization within the city. Transforming the warehouse into commercial spaces anchored by Optical Studio began with an analysis of the primary benefits and hindrances to the site. While the location was ideal, the site had always lacked parking. This deficiency was even more daunting when considering amending the buildings use to one with a higher parking demand. Consequently, the design sought to simultaneously take advantage of the proximity to the intersection while also increasing the available parking.

The proximity to the intersection along with existing parking limitations drove the form generation of the project. The building was reduced in size from a footprint of 2,390 square meters to 1,697 square meters. This served to both make it a more manageable scale for 5 commercial units as well as to open the site for the parking to serve these units. Based on the existing structural grid, the building was pulled back from the intersection and articulated to create a much more dynamic and inviting primary entrance and street frontage. As a result of the new articulated form and contemporary industrial aesthetic, potential clients of the CRU’s will be drawn into the building, able to fully utilize the newly expanded parking lot.

Location: Lethbridge, AB

Year: 2018-2020

Status: Built

Type: Commercial

Client: 

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