June 28, 2011
by Canadian Architect
In June 2010, Perkins+Will responded to an international design competition, submitting a master plan proposal for the Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands (ECCA). One year later, the firm, in collaboration with Civitas Urban Design and Planning, Group2 Architecture, and landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, has been named the successful proponent.
The winning plan for Edmonton’s Airport Lands creates a 216-hectare sustainable community focused on creating a vital and highly memorable new place within the city by providing strong connections to nature, history, economic opportunity and surrounding neighbourhoods. Dubbed “Connecticity,” the plan evolved through a highly collaborative design approach that optimized the team’s considerable interdisciplinary talents and expertise. Connecticity represents a bold new model for sustainable urban development.
Perkins+Will’s proposed vision for the Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands master plan creates a new kind of community that draws deeply from its own unique attributes and spirit. Providing housing for approximately 30,000 residents and an estimated 10,000 new jobs, the master plan seeks to ensure economic vitality and sustainability by extending the energy from four vibrant
growth catalysts into the site: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s research and innovation; Kingsway Mall’s commercial vitality; the busy life of the new rehabilitation hospital and the development spark of a new LRT line.
Site infrastructure design for the ECCA takes an innovative approach, delivering resilient carbon-neutral energy as well as promoting water and waste reduction. Carbon emissions from the community will reduce by 3.2 million tonnes over 20 years while energy produced through biomass and deep geothermal sources will create enough electricity to fully meet the needs of the development. Surplus energy will be sold to public buildings within the greater City of Edmonton resulting in a “beyond carbon-neutral” scenario.
Preserving more than half the land as green space, the plan seizes the opportunity to create a large destination park that acts as both a regional draw and a neighbourhood-scaled community gathering space that knits now-disparate communities and land uses together. Moving forward, the process will feature an integrated design process with a series of comprehensive workshops. This will include the City of Edmonton department stakeholders, and neighbouring institutions and most importantly, the citizens of Edmonton, as part of a much larger team. Together, through workshop participation, open houses, online forums and ongoing discussion, we will formulate and assemble an exciting series of strategies to ensure the continued success of this initiative.
This project represents one of the most significant urban design competitions to be held in Canada’s history, and the largest urban design commission for Perkins+Will in Canada to date.
For more information, please view the winning submission at www.edmonton.ca/city_government/planning_development/perkins-and-will.aspx.
perkins + will rendering of edmonton master plan