Smithbilt Hats

[Photography by Robert Scott.]

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The completed Smithbilt Hat Factory and Residence project is the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the long-idle historic Fletcher Mill building adjoining the CPR Mainline on 10th Street SE in Inglewood led by placeworks design.  It now is the proud new home of Calgary’s iconic Smithbilt, its manufacturing and showroom, and an exceptional private residence on the upper floors.

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From the outset, this project was complex due to the multiple and layered considerations required to bring it to fruition. A valuable part of the City’s history located in a heritage neighbourhood adjacent to the CPR tracks and the proposed new LRT line; being long-abandoned with a building needing significant rehabilitation meant that there were many individuals and organizations who would have to work together to revitalize this site and to make it functional for the new use and to ensure, in completion, it would meet required code regulations. From Heritage approvals, community support, permits issued and revisions approved by the city, and long hours for trades, project managers, design teams, engineering, suppliers, the client, and others who were involved, everyone invested their blood, sweat, and tears to make this beloved project come to life.

SMITHBILT NEW OLD COMPARISON

Although not registered as a designated historic resource with the Province or the City, the Mill was listed as a building of interest; the City Historic Architect had compiled a written history and a collection of related images. Heritage Planning was consulted before, and regularly after, the property’s purchase.

The Fletcher Mill was chosen by Smithbilt, in part, due to its adjacency and relationship to Calgary’s historic and western cultural center and its industrial nature. Re-use of the Mill allowed for a restoration of the hundred and ten year old wood-framed structure that has attracted much interest due to its industrial massing, site-specific and generated angular orientation, raw metal exterior finishes, and interesting signage (Sure-Gain). The footprint of the original structure was used or followed as closely as possible to respect and reinforce the unusual geometry of the original mill and the heritage integrity of the building. The repair and restoration of some of the original walls, timber structure, and foundations was significant due to the cumulative damage to the balloon-framed wood structure from several fires during its period of operation and lack of upkeep since.

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These original elements were seen as essential and valuable to the project and to the historic importance of the site so wherever possible, they were repaired and retained; they remain a part of the building seen today. Sprinklers were installed to current code regulations to protect the Mill from further fire damage in the future.

Locally crafted metal cladding similar to the finish of the original siding was used on the exterior to retain the building’s industrial quality. New construction, such as windows, the new roof over the north portion of the building, and the main entry reflect a more contemporary design and use of materials to contrast with and highlight the historical language of the existing structure.

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Smithbilt Hats’ presence here and use is the final piece to the historic value and pride central to the project, having been founded circa 1910 and partnering with the Calgary Stampede since 1926. In 1946, Smithbilt Hats created the White Cowboy Hat, now an iconic symbol of Calgary and the Stampede and internationally recognized and representative of our City’s pride in Western culture and hosting the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Smithbilt further builds real historic connection through their use of the original manufacturing equipment – now more than a century old. This equipment is highlighted and visible from the showroom as part of the buying experience for customers and along with the nature of the entire project, represents the true artisanal service being provided – an authentic link to Calgary’s history.

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For more amazing photos of this project, visit the project page here.

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Happy Holidays!

We just wanted to pass on best wishes for the holiday season to you all.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to placeworks if you need any assistance in addressing your design and project needs, or even in trying to define those. Whether your project is residential or commercial, we can help you start things moving by having an initial discussion and answering questions you may have – and let you get to know us and our capabilities at the same time.

Here are a few quick images that we took of a great residential project in Marda Loop just completed in time for the holiday break. They’ll have to do until we get our photographer in to work their magic and truly capture the results of a great collaboration with our wonderful clients.

Enjoy, and of course, Happy New Year from us all!

How Office Design is Evolving Today

20795727094_10ef20402e_bSociety is changing, technology is developing, and the nature of business is evolving; in order to stay current and relevant, many employers are investing in office re-design to ensure that their company is creating an environment that results in happy, productive, and loyal employees.

Results of a recent study from Herman Miller highlight the main shifts in workplace design; we want to share them with you with our take on corporate design, below.

Continue reading

Questions to Ask an Architect or Designer

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Whether you are renovating or building new, taking on an architectural/design project can be daunting due to the grand effects it will have on your life both during and after the process. You are going to need to be able to trust, rely on, and get along with your architect or designer so it is important to pick the one most suited to you, your project type, and your budget.

If you’re unsure of what kind of questions you should be asking in order to make your decision of who to hire, then here are a few to get you started. Continue reading

Yeehaw! A New Home for Smithbilt Hats, Just In Time for Stampede.

Smithbilt for blog post - with grass41 months.

30 pages of architectural drawings.

6 permits and permit revisions.

3 designated uses.

1 project.

Voila! You have the recipe for the completely unique, challenging, and equally rewarding mixed use project of ours that we are excited to get to share with you. Continue reading

Sandrin Construction Ltd.

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We have added another wonderful, local builder to the Partners page on our website…. Sandrin Construction Ltd. is just wrapping up construction on a residential project that we designed and we must say that their work is spectacular! With a high attention to detail and a desire to make the client happy in a now-functional space, Sandrin Construction executed a fine exterior and interior renovation. At our last site visit, we were blown away by the transformation of the house; instead of outdated and cramped, the new floor plan and finishes create a comfortable space that looks fresh and welcoming. If you’d like to see more of their work, you can find them on our Partners page or you can visit http://www.sandrinconstruction.com/

 

Welcoming Spring and A New Site!

It’s been a long time coming but we’re excited to promote the launch of our new website; Placeworks is fresh, updated, and now compatible with mobile devices. Please check it out for yourselves and we invite you to circulate the link with anyone who may find it interesting or useful. Just follow this link! http://www.placeworksdesign.com/20170323-blog-post

Website, Wes, and Wonder

The new website is on its way. Last week, we spent a fun morning at Adina Photography’s studio getting the team’s portraits taken. The dogs participated as well, of course! Jayseadesigns will be finishing things off in the near future and many of our recent projects will appear!

Wes Bou-Saleh has just joined us to spend his work-placement term from Dalhousie. We’re excited to have this creative, humorous and friendly fellow who hails from the Sylvan Lake area in the office until the end of August.

Things are rolling here on a number of projects including some residential, a sports-health clinic in a great mid-century modern building in the Beltline, and the Sure-Gain Fletcher Mills historic site in Inglewood. The projects at our favorite Village Brewery (a cool lab overlooking the ‘floor) and Source Energy Services new headquarters on the main floor of Victoria Park’s Biscuit Block are now complete – images coming soon!