Designing a building for Cochrane

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It’s been a minute or two since the Town of Cochrane has taken on the task of designing and building a major public facility on behalf of their taxpayers.

The RancheHouse isn’t being completely replaced, but take it as an example: While certainly a grand structure, it was not originally occupied by the town. The phased construction of the SLS Family Sports Centre was complex, with stakeholders including other municipalities.

This time, with the upcoming municipal facility housing an information centre, transit and other town services and a tech industry space, the Town of Cochrane and its third-party contractors are able to have more control over the design.

The building, set to be 7,700 square feet, was primarily designed by Canadian architecture giant GEC.

With the timber accents inside, site lead Greg Barsi told councillors last month the idea was to create an environment both warm and airy.

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“There’s further plans here that will be worked out for furniture as we advance the plans,” he noted.

The project team said the interior needs to be inviting as it’s where COLT users might wait for their ride in the winter, where visitors will be welcomed, and where Cochranites will be going for ToC needs.

Barsi pointed to a rendering of a central wall, open on both ends.

“The idea of this flat wall is that it’s a ‘living wall’, or can be adjusted to suit the ‘flavour of the day’,” he said.

“I think the idea is to have the art program where we can showcase local art. Some of that may be on shelving, some of it may need to be hung on the wall, so this is a very flexible piece of furnishing as well.”

“Behind this wall is where the washrooms would be located.”

Another prominent feature is a large overhead door (garage-type but transparent) leading out to the outdoor plaza.

“We wanted the ability to pass in and out of this building to be fairly quick,” Barsi said.

“If someone’s in here waiting for the transit, we want them to be able to see when the bus pulls up and allow them to get out fairly quick to get out to the bus.”

At the time of the presentation, the outside finishes were still being figured out. The exterior’s arguably most striking feature, however, is going to stay: a large roof overhang, adding considerable sheltered space for waiting for the bus outdoors.

“I love the design of the building, I think it looks great,” said councillor Marni Fedeyko following the presentation.

Said councillor Patrick Wilson, “The build looks really aesthetically pleasing to me.”

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