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BLOG: Noble Townhomes and Condominiums in University District – Connecting People and Place

October 10, 2019
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Together with Calgary developer Truman Developments, S2 was tasked to develop a vibrant and sustainable neighbourhood-oriented design focusing on cutting-edge multi-residential unit typologies that embraced the overall University District’s design guidelines and planning principles.

Project Overview

Noble represented the first phase of development in University District – a mixed-use community within steps of the University of Calgary and Foothills Health Campus. As one of only two developments selected to set the stage for this innovative neighbourhood, Noble embodies the University District Masterplan vision: “…a vibrant mixed-use community with active, friendly streets, eclectic architectural character and a home to suit every lifestyle and budget. A place where residents can walk to work while enjoying the richness of a green environment as they travel along pedestrian-oriented, tree-lined streets, intercepting a variety of open spaces, gardens and natural areas along the way”.

S2 designed the project to create housing diversity and focus on Truman's vision of “Calgary’s Community, Mindfully Made.” The project was comprised of two phases: Phase 1 included 36 townhomes ranging from 2,000 - 2,300 square feet with double-car private underground parking stalls. Phase 2 was a condominium comprised of a variety of housing options that ranged from efficient apartment-style one-bedroom units to two-bedroom stacked townhomes, with all parking located underground.

The Design

The design incorporated three distinct types of amenity spaces: private amenity space, rooftop communal amenity space, and a publicly accessible, highly articulated landscaped plaza area. The edges of private, semi-private and public spaces were blurred by creating a design solution that provided not only ‘private amenity space’ for each home but also ‘private communal amenity space’ where maximum sun exposure can be enjoyed on the roof. The rooftop terracing also served to reduce the feel of heavy massing and allowed for more light penetration into the courtyard. 

Our approach to street-oriented design ensured that the front door for each unit ‘looked and worked like an entrance’, with the added convenience of direct entry to each unit from the underground parking garage below.

The architecture has a contemporary, timeless feel with highly articulated facades and roofline to ensure appropriately nuanced massing. A mix of high quality masonry, metal panel and maintenance-free monolithic wood panels provided a vibrant mix of materials which carefully balance quality, longevity, warmth and style. 

 IMG 6170 

 IMG 6157W

Site Challenges

The site, which slopes by almost two stories from corner to corner, also curves along its length which presented significant challenges for the design team to solve. For example, it would have been simpler to ignore the curve and build faceted rectilinear forms. Instead, the team took advantage of this unique condition and created a sweeping crescent. Rarely seen in North America, crescent-shaped plans were popular during Georgian times, with perhaps the greatest example being the Royal Crescent in Bath.

The overall site plan was thoughtfully designed to ensure that it strengthened the connection between people and place, with particular focus placed on building edges and circulation of pedestrians. This was achieved by blurring the boundaries between public and private spaces. Both the townhouse and condo sites allow for free-flow of public and private pedestrian movement through and around the buildings within safe and well-lit landscaped pocket plazas.

 08 Site Plan

Client: Truman Development Corporation
Location: NW community of University District, Calgary, AB
Services: Prime Consulting, Architecture
Number of Units: 8 buildings (6 townhomes, 2 apartment-style condominiums), 136 units total
Occupancy: August 2017