Ortona Armoury Arts Building Rehabilitation

Built in 1914 in the historic Rossdale neighbourhood of Edmonton, Alberta, the Ortona Armoury Arts Building was originally used as a warehouse and stable for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The building has gone on to provide space for various functions, including a Royal Canadian Navy base, and now serves as a studio and performance space for artists, film producers and musicians. Designated as a municipal historic resource building by the City of Edmonton in 2004, the Ortana Armoury has undergone several additions and internal and external restoration projects within the last few decades.

With Marc Boutin Architectural Collective (MBAC) as the architect, Williams Engineering (WE) is currently providing mechanical, electrical, building science, sustainability, and civil engineering services for the major renovation and rehabilitation of the Ortana Armoury. The project follows an organized phased approach, with phase one covering the schematic design and design development components and phase two comprising of the preparation of working documents through to the completion of post-construction services. This project places a large emphasis on improving energy efficiency, honouring the extensive heritage of the building and optimizing the space to meet its new functional requirements.

The rehabilitation and energy optimization elements of this project are considerably unique as the building has several features that will affect the limitations of the energy modelling and building energy efficiency. Specifically, the windows are single pane and historically classified. The lighting is a combination of incandescent fixtures that are strung from portable wiring and some fluorescent fixtures. There is currently no existing ventilation system in the building. WE’s approach to overcoming these challenges is to use the energy model to aid the design to be as efficient as possible, even if with the addition of a ventilation system, regardless of this addition causing an increase in energy use. This project will include the addition of LED lighting as well as efficient mechanical systems. The historical façade will remain undisturbed while the interior walls are better insulated. The courtyard will also be enclosed to provide a new performance area. The design intends to meet the City of Edmonton C532 energy efficiency policy in any area possible.

The rehabilitation of this historic building will ensure the infrastructure meets the modern needs of a variety of arts focused tenants. The Ortana Armoury is an essential hub for Edmonton’s arts and performance community and will also strive to offer bookable space options for public and community use.