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Heritage Projects


Historic and Heritage Buildings
KSAS provides consulting services for work being done on historic and designated heritage buildings. Bill Kumlin has worked in various capacities on a number of buildings in Calgary’s downtown and beltline areas. His work has been for tenant improvements/renovations, repairs and upgrades, codes reviews, evaluations, and consulting relating to the use of heritage buildings, and consulting and architectural services for renovations to buildings without heritage designations but with historic value to the city. With a background with Parks Canada’s Historic Restoration Division, He worked on projects in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.  He has a sensitivity to, and respect for, the buildings that form a part of an area’s history. He recognizes the historic character and how to maintain it as well as an understanding of past construction methods and how that relates to a building’s value, as well as what is required to rehabilitate buildings that may be in need of repair or updating.
Bill has always been fascinated by older buildings – old train stations, sway-back barns, leaning granaries - wondering who worked in them, how long ago they were built, why they weren’t maintained, why there were allowed to fail.  This thinking comes into every project Bill works on, new or heritage.  Where possible, buildings should last, so many people can enjoy them for years to come.
Bill has received a Post-Graduate Certificate in Built and Landscape Heritage Program from the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape.
Bill has worked on and in the following heritage and historic buildings in Calgary:

Customs House (National Music Centre)
2 projects were completed on this designated historic building: the emergency generator was replaced due to the original one being damaged during the 2013 Calgary Flood; and some of the main floor exiting systems required upgrading based on current code changes to travel distance and fire separation requirements.

The Hudson Block (Hudson’s Bay)
The second floor office areas were renovated to accommodate the moving out of one tenant and the expansion of the a second tenant.  One of these tenants was the owner of the building and a number of other historic buildings in the downtown area.  Other design reviews were reviewed for the new ATB tenancy and a coffee shop on the main floor.  These tenancies required negotiations with both the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) and the City’s Heritage Planning department.

The Merchant Bank Building  
This building required upgrades to meet current codes as new tenancies represented a change of use which triggers the need for meeting the current building codes.  However, this was not possible due to the existing exit stair configuration from the basement.  Negotiations were held with the Building Regulations department to find alternative solutions such as increased fire detection devices and limiting public access to the basement area.  In addition, the front façade was modified to include a new entrance door for the main floor tenant.  The stair to the second floor did not meet public exit requirements to be used by the second floor tenant.  We worked with the Heritage Planning department to replace one of the front windows with a new door to match the existing door. 

The Tribune Building
The Tribune building is a designated building and it holds the distinction as having the first loft residence in the downtown area.  This residence was on the second and third levels of the building.  It was later turned into office space but only required one exit as a residence.  An exterior stair was installed to accommodate the second exit requirement.  However, this was an opportunity for homeless people to access the roof to take advantage of the warm roof top equipment.  We worked with the owner and City Building Regulations to redesign the stair to meet the current code and eliminate unauthorized access to the roof.

The Palace Theatre  
This early stage theatre, and later movie theatre, was a significant icon in the City’s downtown area.  It’s ornate front façade and lobby and theatre are a beautiful contribution to the City’s history.  One early option was for a retail store to go into the building but, due to the sloped floors, this was deemed unfeasible.  A nightclub became the first non-theatre use in the building.  After a 7 year run, they moved out and a second night club owner moved in.  During the design process, he negotiated a deal with the Calgary Flames and the new establishment was named ‘Flames Central’.  There were numerous negotiations with the City Heritage Planning, the province’s heritage department, and the City’s Building Regulations department. Items that had to be resolved included upgrading of the marquee theatre sign canopy, leveling out of sloped floor areas, maintaining the visibility of the historic fabric and character defining elements, and using the colours from the original theatre’s colour palette.

The Doll Block
Interior renovations for the existing tenant were carried out respecting the historic character elements as well as the somewhat convoluted exiting system, implemented within the building and it’s neighbouring building, The Telus Convention Centre.

Shoe Hospital 
This building is a nondescript historic building that has been affectionately named for its long- term basement tenant – ‘The Shoe Hospital’.  The new main floor tenant, a coffee/sandwich shop needed some modifications to the layout including the entrance and access to a rear exit.  Negotiations were held with Building Regulations to allow access to a rear exit and public washrooms adjacent to the food preparation areas.  The building’s narrow structure forced some relaxation to the exiting requirements in the current building code.  Tasks involved reviewing the tenants proposed plans and reviewing the existing structure.

The Aull Block 
This is a historic building in the Beltline area of Calgary. It was constructed in the 1920’s as a single storey building but had a 2 storey addition constructed sometime later.  The main block was constructed with historic details and a brick façade.  The building was planned to have a new restaurant move into the original portion of the building and offices were planned for the top of the addition.  The building required an investigation into the structure, which was failing in some portions of the building.  As well, the floors were not protected against the spread of fire.  They were open wood structure and didn’t meet the current code for fire separation requirements. 
The work completed in the building was a repair/rebuild of the floors in the addition plus installation of gypsum board ceiling to the floor areas.As well, the stair to the basement was added and enclosed for use by the restaurant.The exterior remained essentially intact except for a general cleanup.

The Cunningham Building
This a small historic apartment building that was originally The Cunningham Building is a 2 storey brick structure with wood heavy timber floor assemblies inside. It has a full basement which has a portion in the back for mechanical and the remainder is open. The main floor contains a commercial area in the front and apartments in the back. The second floor contains additional apartments.  An interesting feature of the second floor is the notch in the west side. The reason isn’t apparent.  The apartments have a separate exterior entrance from the commercial space and that entrance is the primary design feature of the front façade.
Our work was to review the building relative to the building code to determine its conformance regarding the fire separations between the suites, and in the corridors and exiting.It was determined that they met the fire separation requirements at the time it was renovated (some 40 years ago).It was noted that the internal stair between the floors was not separated from the corridors in the way that a public exit stair should be.However, it was determined to be grandfathered based on the codes of the time.

The Eagle Block 
This is a 2 storey historic building inn Calgary’s beltline.  It has a full basement plus a small 2 storey addition without the basement.  We were brought in to investigate the reasons for the sloping second floor.  It had, in one corner, settled/sunk approximately 10-12” below its original elevation.  The floor structure over the main centre beam remained in place. From our investigation it was determined that the foundations under the main floor, responsible for the second floor and roof, had settled due to the 2013 flooding that had taken place in the area.  It was interesting that the settling foundations didn’t affect the main floor as it has foundations separation from the second floor.