You might say we’re hiding in plain sight, my sisters and I. I’m the tallest, so people tend to focus on me. My sisters have their virtues, to be sure, but I’m the sibling who’s perpetually stood out — and not just for my looks. After all, I’ve met and influenced many of UCalgary’s Rhodes Scholars and other outstanding graduates, like astronaut-alumnus Dr. Robert Thirsk, BSc’76, Hon. LLD’09, MD, and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, BA’85, MA’91. What I once had to offer stunned people into silence.
Mind you, once my techy stepsister arrived, all bets were off. After that, some thought of me as half-empty, some half-full. Some even characterized me as slightly “unsafe”— I had to wear the ugliest protective hose for years. Now, however, I’m poised to regain my traction with alumni, staff and students. I may not be a provocative youngster any more, but I’m back, better than ever, and ready to knock your socks off starting in August 2019.
I should note that my sisters and I are close, but not in each other’s pockets. Equally ambitious, each of them is undergoing a redo, virtuously recycling most of her bits and bobs to ensure that she isn’t just stunning but easy on the environment. They may give me a run for my money when they make their debuts in 2022, but, until then, I’m going to be the swan.
What I’m performing is an interior burlesque. You might think of a burlesque as the taking off of things in a public way; mine is more of an inward blossoming. On the plus side, I’ve gained some height — most unexpected when you’re 50-something. I’ve also harnessed the power of Calgary’s splendid sunshine to reduce my heating needs by nine-tenths. Installing photovoltaics — which convert light into energy — on my scalp and sides and purchasing green power off the grid will make me carbon-neutral. Am I trying to win some kind of award here? Why, yes I am. I’m what the cool kids call a prototype.
Admittedly, my reinvention has caused some uproar. Some 600 people and countless birds have had to accommodate my needs. I’ve embraced their concerns, but have not let them get in my way. What’s a little inconvenience when it lets my sisters and me nurture and sustain our admirers?
I think you’ll find the new me warm and inviting, with a panoramic outlook. I look forward to our bold new relationship.
The Future of Architecture
Right in the heart of downtown, UCalgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design recently opened a 29,000-square-foot satellite campus, a.k.a. the City Building Design Lab (CBDL). Explore the spaces being designed and shaped by UCalgary Alumni.
How Do We Protect the Most Vulnerable?
With a willingness to take on entrenched and challenging urban issues, UCalgary alumni, students, faculty and researchers are assisting those who live on the margins.
What’s transformed the Dining Centre is far more than a slap-happy menu makeover; we asked Vivek Shraya for her ideal party-invite list; gatecrashing the art gallery world; what’s in a name when it relates to Indigenous peoples; inside the mind of a literary icon.
Can’t Get Enough?
From splashy architectural photo spreads of some of Calgary’s most-talked-about new buildings to the complexities we face in caring for society’s most vulnerable — this issue explores UCalgary’s reach around the city and beyond.