Before & After | Mall Makeover - Design Bureau

After 5

After 7

The result of a $40 million investment from the city, a lush indoor green space adds an open, airy quality to the Core not typically found in indoor malls.

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Before 6

Before 7

Before & After | Mall Makeover

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

By Jill McDonnell
Photos by John Bilodeau

For office workers taking midday breaks and shoppers scooping up the latest fashions, the Core, Calgary’s only downtown shopping center, is the place to have their lunchtime hunger and desire for luxury goods fulfilled. MMC International Architects and international retail design firm GH+A stepped in to give the center, which was built in 1977, a much deserved face-lift.



Glass bridges connected the three separate Core properties. While the interconnected skyways helped protect Calgarians from the elements, they also added to the disjointed effect between the buildings. Inside the buildings, there was minimal visibility between floors. The fourth floor contained a garden, but by the late 2000s it had become outdated and overgrown. “We wanted to create one single retail destination with a cohesive identity,” Debbie Kalisky, director of retail development for GH+A, says. MMC transformed the architectural shell, while GH+A developed the retail storefront design criteria, finishes, amenities, and wayfinding.



To create a seamless transition from one building to another, the steps between each property were demolished and sloped. “The building’s ceiling was blasted away so that you could get a sense of the excitement and retail activity all throughout the four levels of the complex,” Kalisky says. While the glass walkways remain, there are now tenants on either side of the glass bridge, so that passersby never miss an opportunity to shop. Lush greenery is once again alive and well: The city of Calgary invested $40 million to demolish the old garden and rebuild a 2.5-acre exotic indoor oasis. But the crown jewel of the Core is its new glass point support structure, which was constructed on top of the existing roof before it was removed. The structural supports are located on the glass exterior to allow shoppers an up-close-and-personal look at the dramatic Calgary skyline.

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