Image: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

Facing competition from over 300 skyscrapers from around the world, a downtown Calgary residential tower was recently crowned the second-place winner for an international architecture award.

TELUS Sky was granted the second-place Emporis Skyscraper Award according to a press release issued by Emporis, an international building and construction data provider based in Germany.

The award winners were selected by a panel of global architectural experts from a pool of hundreds of towers that were completed in 2020 with a minimum height of 100 meters. The Emporis Skyscraper Award, which has been running for the last 20 years, is given to buildings based on a series of aesthetic and functional design criteria.

As the third-tallest building in Calgary, TELUS Sky houses a mix of office space and both short- and long-term residential rental apartments.

Image: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

The 59-storey skyscraper, named after Telus Communications, was developed by Westbank and Allied Properties REIT. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and DIALOG, the architects behind TELUS Sky, are known in Canada for their work on King Toronto Condos and Vancouver House.

“TELUS Sky stands out because of its extraordinary structure and façade: it has a rectangular base and with rising height the floor plates gradually reduce in size, creating small terraces and balconies,” states Emporis.

The skyscraper’s north and south façade is lit up at night by a 160,000-square-foot public art LED lighting installation called “Northern Lights,” which was created by Douglas Coupland, a Canadian author and artist. The art piece consists of 600 custom bulbs that wrap around the tower’s window frames to create an infinite number of colours and patterns. Viewers can follow information about the light performance in real time with the help of a smartphone app.

Image: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

For residents and office users, TELUS Sky is home to an 11-storey atrium and living green wall, along with a fitness facility, conference areas and direct access to the city’s Plus 15 pedestrian network system.

“Our goal for TELUS Sky was to design an office building that would contribute to the Calgary core in a meaningful way,” reads TELUS Sky’s website. “Calgary’s downtown is largely characterized by bland, corporate high rises. Against this background we set out to create something a little more feminine. A little finer grained.”

Image:  J. Louis Baillargeon

One Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia beat out TELUS Sky for first place this year. The 71-storey skyscraper designed by WilkinsonEyre and Bates Smart is the tallest building in the city, and marks the first time an Australia tower has won the Emporis Skyscraper Award. One Vanderbilt, a 59-storey New York commercial office tower by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, ranked in third place.

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