Written by Shantel Susan, Art Consultant & Founder Shantel’s Art & Design Inc.
The Muttart Conservatory (Horticulture/Plant Exhibition Complex)
The Muttart Conservatory is a horticultural complex that is comprised of four glass and steel pyramids located in the river valley and easily viewed by visitors to the downtown core of Edmonton. The interior pavilions house a series of themed plant installations that are shown to great effect with the clear visible glass and sturdy steel “criss-cross” design. Inside each pavilion, the visitor can appreciate the necessity and illuminating effect of the glass to provide natural light into the interiors that are desirable for the plants and also for viewing purposes. The sheer number and volume of plants presented in each pyramid, along with their information plaques, are more easily seen with the help of direct light. This particular use of glass and steel is effective in this interior.
The Winspear Centre (Concert Hall)
Completed in 1997, the Winspear Concert Hall was constructed to be the permanent home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The exterior of the Concert Hall
shows a glass tower which is used as an observation point from each of the five balconies featured in the interior. Upon entry into the lobby, looking from the main (orchestra lobby) upwards, the visitor is struck by the cantilevered balconies that were created to represent a musical staff. The dress circle lobby conveys a warmth and stability through the combination of glass, concrete, mahogany, beechwood and terrazzo while the upper circle lobby boasts the “curtain wall glass” that is accentuated with aluminum and chrome. This mainstay theme of glass, aluminum and chrome is repeated throughout the other balconies and allows the patron to view Edmonton’s downtown core using the exterior lights that display a highly reflective appeal. The only drawback could be the less-than-ideal amount of accent lighting that tends to foreshorten the interior and makes it appear dark and weighty, especially in the darkness of night.
The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald (Hotel) Harvest Room
The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald was designed in the Canadian Chateaux style. After the completion of the remodelling in 1991 the Harvest Room, a restaurant located in the Hotel MacDonald has a vast array of glass used primarily to give maximum view of the outside view of the river. Of interesting note in this interior is the use of a wrought iron railing. This black railing was designed in a leafy, scalloped pattern that gives a sense of elegance and uniformity. The brass accents in the room in the table stands and light fixture bases also provide a contrast to this black, resilient feature.
Alberta Legislative Assembly (Alberta Legislative Building)
The stained glass presented in the The Legislative Chamber is set in plaster inlay and has 600 lights in this ceiling area. This stained glass is covered with a casted lead-mesh design.
Airport Hangar #14 (Municipal Airport Museum)
This airport hanger located in the northern area of Edmonton, near the old Municipal Airport, has an interesting story in terms of its history. Built during WWII, the hanger had significant modifications to its material choices, not the least of which was the amount of steel that could be used. The Hangar is an example of the Warren truss system with parallel upper and lower chords with connections on a bias that form a series of equilateral triangles. Given the shortages during wartime, the substitution of aluminum and wood in the ceiling were used as steel was rationed. Steel was used only in bolts to secure the joints and split-ring connectors along with glazing to exterior steel doors. This resulted in a more stable design that was later deemed to be more effective than the Warren truss.
Timms Performing Arts Centre
As a performing arts centre, the Timms shows double paned glass that is cantilevered and set against an array of stainless steel, aluminum and chrome to provide a grand presence in its interior lobby. The intelligent placement of accents lights throughout the lobby and the second story balcony provide for a reflective beauty that is fully appreciated in the evening. The use of clear plastic ancillary pieces throughout adds an additional contemporary feel, even if it tends to cheapen the feel of the space.
“Muttart Conservatories Edmonton Alberta Canada 01A” by WinterE229 WinterforceMedia – Own work.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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