Fire Station No. 1 Green Roof + Plaza

City of Calgary
Location Calgary | Alberta | Canada

The new green roof plaza on top of Fire Station No.1 is a renovation of an existing, publicly accessible roof space, embedded within Calgary’s downtown +15 network. Growing public safety concerns, accessibility issues, and an end to the usable life of the plaza necessitated a complete overhaul of the roofscape. O2 was contracted in 2013 to transform the space into a sustainable green roof. The new design provides a vibrant, flexible public space for lunch-time dining and special events, as well as a connection to adjacent developments. Carefully chosen plantings and biophilic design elements reintroduce natural elements to the hardscape of the downtown core. 

The plant palette includes over 50 species of native or adapted grasses, perennials, and forbs, mixed with a sedum carpet. The result is an ever-changing display of brightly coloured blossoms, mixed with subtle tones of the native prairie. Completed in the summer of 2016, the project serves as a showcase for landscaping using native plants in unique and innovative ways.

The design concept reimagined a derilect rooftop plaza that had reached the end of its life cycle, and is complimentary with the existing brutalist architecture of the Fire Station, as well as surrounding buildings. As a renovation project, O2’s approach required a great deal of flexibility in design execution. After demolition was complete, the design was modified to adapt to unforseen conditions. This required creative collaboration with the contractor, and quick turnarounds of redesign to maintain the construction schedule.

Sustainable values and a flexible approach were key in the success of the design. The resulting green roof is a popular shared space, reintroducing nature into the built environment of the downtown core while fostering a sense of community for its users. 

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