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.