A gleaming aluminum office building will rise from a small triangular lot in Calgary’s thriving East Village, a new area the city is building as part of the mayor’s plan to limit sprawl and create greater density. New York–based nARCHITECTS founded its design for the so-called M2 Mixed Building on local regulations that prohibit casting shadows onto the newly built RiverWalk directly north of the site along the Bow River.
nARCHITECTS principal Eric Bunge said his team created a “shadow envelope” for the 62-foot-tall, 20,000-square-foot building that responds to the harshest shadows—cast on September 21 at 4:00 p.m.—to create the building’s zigzagging, stepped shape. “We had to absorb the local regulations into a cohesive form,” said Bunge. This gives the M2 building, and many of its neighbors, a ziggurat shape, which Bunge called the “Mayan Riviera” for its stepped massing. The team articulated the form further to increase M2’s social qualities with a series of interconnected terraces and a cantilever shading a plaza for ground floor restaurants.
The building is clad in aluminum panels with a gently scalloped texture that creates a playful tempo in contrast to the movement of the river. The south facade facing the street is clad in black aluminum, where triangular windows create a more lively rhythm at the internal stairwell.
The firm just completed schematic design, so Bunge noted that the design might shift as it moves through a lengthy review process.