Discovery Tour:
Adaptive Reuse

What is Adaptive Reuse?

You are standing in the intimate sunken courtyard of the Studio Theatre, known as ArtYard. Patio lights twinkle overhead. Around the perimeter you see these rusty iron posts with bumps all over them. What on earth do you suppose they are? 

> These are 70 radiator cores that heated the historic school. When the building was first being renovated, we installed a brand new state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. Then when the old radiator cores were removed, we could have sent them to the landfill. Instead, we turned them into an art piece and an enclosure to our outdoor ArtYard.

Therefore this is an example of adaptive reuse of buildings and materials. This sustainability practice takes old materials that no longer serve their original purpose and adapt them to be reused in a new way. In addition, reusing old materials creatively contributes to our  placemaking efforts. 

  • Placemaking is the practice of preserving, restoring, and improving historic and/or underused properties for the purpose of adding vibrancy to communities. In this way, the renovation of King Edward School into a creative hub is a great example of placemaking in Calgary. 
  • Creative placemaking includes artists in the process of revitalization. These radiator cores are transformed into something beautiful and functional. 

Where else can you find examples of adaptive reuse in the building?

Level 1 Hallway

  • Boiler doors
    • In 1912, a train from Amherst N.S. initially brought the original boilers here by train. Years later, they are now embedded under glass floors and conceal a time capsule of stories from former principals and teachers, and current tenants
    • LED lighting inside the glass changes colour to coincide with events or moods in the building
  • School lockers – NE Entrance
    • These junior high school lockers were recycled into a community bulletin board. They now provide a home for community messages
  • Exposed brickwork across from the coffee shop, Aroma
    • There are several places throughout the building where you can see the original interior brick or concrete. These areas were partially restored and add visual interest to nooks and crannies

Level 4 – NW end by the RGO Treehouse

  • Gymnasium floor
    • In the 1950s, the school added an industrial arts wing and gymnasium. Additionally, they added a junior high building in the 1960s. The renovations included tearing these down. We saved the gymnasium floor with its school mascot image of the Knight, and created a decorative wall just outside the RGO Treehouse with it. Pieces of it were also used in the signage for the Treehouse above the doors.

The New West Wing

If you are still in the courtyard, looking up at cSPACE, you’ll know that we are standing by the new wing of the building. In the late 1970s a historic sandstone wing of the original building became structurally unsound. It had to be torn down. When cSPACE planned the renovations, we wanted to restore the original footprint of the building. We added a brand new wing onto the original structure to restore the classical symmetry of the whole. This new wing houses our state of the art Studio Theatre, our Sandbox Co-working space above, and our gorgeous RGO Treehouse meeting spaces, complete with wraparound terrace.

  • The original exterior sandstone wall is now an interior feature of the Studio Theatre (you can peek through the windows to see)
  • The brand new HVAC system includes these automated exterior louvres. They are connected to a weather station, and move up and down/open and close in response to the light/wind/weather
  • At the very top you can see solar panels that overhang the wraparound terrace. This is 9KwH array contributes to our LEED Gold Certification with renewable energy production
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