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Breathing New Life Into an Old Building: Stephen Cohos on the Telus Park Warehouse Renovation


To celebrate National Engineering Month, we’re highlighting our creative, collaborative, and advanced team members and the projects they’ve been working on. We do great work for great clients, and it’s all thanks to our great people.

In the second post of this series, Stephen Cohos, Designer, talks about his experience working on the Telus Park warehouse renovation.

Stephen, tell us all about it.

Front Entrance Pre-Construction

In the summer of 2017 Entuitive was engaged by the architecture firm Lemay + Toker to carry out the structural design of a warehouse retro-fit in Calgary. The client had purchased an old bottle depot warehouse and was looking to upgrade the facility to be used as a new technician hub for Telus.

Our team was to provide structural engineering consulting services for new window wall openings, a review of base building structure for the installation of new mechanical services, the design of a new second-floor mezzanine, and the design of a new steel frame entrance canopy. As standard practice in the existing buildings renovation world, we were equipped with a partial set of existing structural drawings, a geotechnical soils report, and a wonderfully creative team of architects looking to breathe new life into an old forgotten-about structure.

The existing warehouse was a prefabricated steel-framed structure built on reinforced concrete pile foundations with a typical conventionally reinforced slab-on-grade warehouse floor. In a previous life, this warehouse was used as a recycling depot, which meant it didn’t look much better than the cheap aluminum cans it housed. Therefore, it was up to the consultant team to turn this pile of steel into a fully functional technicians’ hub with a brand new lobby entrance, meeting rooms, service bays, material storage spaces, and offices.

Beyond the typical tenant fit-out work, we were tasked with providing the structural design of a second-floor mezzanine within the warehouse structure. The kicker was that the mezzanine had to be completely self-supporting. We had no way to tie the new structure into the existing one without major structural upgrades.

Second-Floor Mezzanine During Construction

During the design development phase of the project Entuitive worked directly with the lead architect, Grace Coulter and the Lemay + Toker team, the mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and the geotechnical engineer to develop various options for the mezzanine. We provided an approximate cost analysis using steel frame construction with steel W-section beams, HSS posts, OWSJ, and a composite steel deck and concrete floor system, as well as a second option using steel W-section beams, HSS posts, and a reinforced concrete hollow-core floor system. The client chose to move forward with the hollow-core system due to speed of construction.

Hollow-Core Floor System

During the detailed design phase Entuitive worked in chorus with the hollow-core contractor and their design engineer to complete a full structural drawings package that included new pad footings, a new elevator, and a 1,400 m² mezzanine.

This project had many challenges that we typically face when revitalizing old buildings. Often it can be hard to predict structural issues until the project is well into construction and the demolition reveals previously hidden conditions. It can quickly deplete the energy of the contractor, the design team, and the project budget when we run into these types of issues. Telus Park had many of these.

Exterior Post Construction

But what makes us so proud of the work that was accomplished on this project is that today the company loves their new space. We have received great feedback from the tenants about their new offices and how much they enjoy working in their new building.

Interior Post-Construction

And, most importantly, we reinvented a building that could have easily been torn down and sold for scraps. They say the most environmentally sustainable building is the one you never build.

Well, cheers to that.

Front Entrance Canopy Post-Construction

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