Located in the Westwinds community of Calgary, Alberta, the new Jamatkhana is a dedicated space for gathering and prayer within the Ismaili community. The first level of the building holds a prayer hall, library, social hall and lobby. Meeting spaces and administrative workspaces make up the second level, and classrooms for educational programs are located on the building’s third level.
Williams Engineering (WE) completed building envelope consulting engineering services for this new construction project. Reviews of the building envelope and roofing detail drawings were completed by WE, with written recommendations and comments on the related systems provided to the architectural team. A critical element of this project was the consideration of how the design would support the religious and cultural uses of the building. For example, when addressing how the windows would be kept warm by the mechanical system, the design team had to consider that in many gatherings, people would be seated on the floor in a circle around the perimeter of the building. This consideration prompted the team to install the mechanical ducts at the perimeter of the building in the ceiling rather than the floor where they would typically be designed. Communication was also critical as the project approvals were completed by a group of religious and community leaders. WE had to demonstrate a thorough understanding of this group’s needs and priorities for the use of the building and effectively describe how the design could support that. Building envelope and roofing system site reviews were provided by WE’s building science team during the construction phase. Site reports were distributed to the construction team detailing the progress being made on site and the work being completed related to the building envelope components.
Classrooms and communal spaces allow for educational programs at the Westwinds Jamatkhana that will teach the history of the Ismaili faith and community to children in Calgary. Jamatkhana provides an essential space for Ismailis to express their identity and culture through visiting places of prayer and gathering as a unified community.