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Calgary Herald: Zeidler BKDI busy across city, country

Last updated 4 years ago

David Parker, Calgary Herald

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The 36-storey office tower rising rapidly on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 2nd Street S.W. is the first building under construction in Cadillac Fairview's impressive 1.75-million-square-foot Calgary City Centre mixed-use development.

The block situated between the Westin hotel and Eau Clair Market will also include a five-star hotel, luxury residences and premium restaurant and retail. It was designed through shared cultures and complementary practice strengths of Calgary's BKDI Architects, one of the leading architectural firms in Western Canada, and Toronto-based Zeidler, which has seven offices worldwide.

The relationship was developed some 15 years ago thanks to the foresight of BKDI founder Peter Burgener, who sought the experience of the Zeidler team to add to his company's strengths for the exciting downtown project.

Stampede week was chosen as the ideal time to announce the merger of the two firms as Zeidler BKDI - with new logo and colours prominently displayed on its chuckwagon and the new shirts of employees worn throughout the 10-day event.

Zeidler was the executive architect along with Foster + Partners of The Bow and has now moved its Calgary team in with the 70 staff in BKDI's space in the Western Union Building at 640 8th Avenue S.W. Zeidler's senior partners, Vaidila Banelis and Tarek El Khatib of Toronto, join BKDI partners Jean Guy Beliveau, Stephen Bugbee, Bill Mitchell and Catherine Richardson to form the new Ziedler BKDI partnership group. Michael Cojocar and Martin Veenhoven from Zeidler's Calgary office join Ross Roy of BKDI as principals of the merger and continue in their senior leadership roles.

The merger formerly recognizes the blend of talents, joint philosophy and experience in a multi-jurisdictional practice that is also working with Oxford Properties on the redevelopment of Bow Valley Square and will bring a number of other local projects to the new relationship.

They include Zeidler's work for the Calgary Board of Education and Golden Hills Schools Division, the Stadium Shopping Centre Master Plan, renovation of the University of Lethbridge recital theatre, and early education design with the largest child care building constructed in Canada at Quarry Park - a two-storey building that will accommodate 350 children.

It's going to be a busy office as BKDI recently secured a number of exciting projects which include being selected to design Matco's 5.2-hectare Westbrook Station site, a transit-oriented development bringing high density residential, commercial and retail adjacent to the Westbrook LRT Station; and Phase 3 of SoBow, the residential complex by Matco's M2i Development. Also currently on the books are projects resulting from long-term relationships with Hopewell, Rio-Can, Grosvenor, Western Securities and BMO interiors across Western Canada. For Trinity Development Group it is designing McCall Landing and East Hills, Sage Hills for Ronmor, 85th Street for Bri-Mor Developments, two Calgary Alliance church projects and the renovation and addition to Bowness High School.

The Calgary office is also working to improve the urban quality of downtown Airdrie, Central Green in Kelowna, City Centre in Saskatoon and King's Wharf in Dartmouth, N.S. The new partnership that Burgener forged enables Zeidler BKDI to provide a broader set of services to its clients, enabling the Calgary office to draw from the resources of Zeidler's offices in Toronto, Victoria, London, Berlin, Beijing, Chengdu and Abu Dhabi.

Travel Alberta is a key partner in the development and implementation of the province's tourism framework, helping to build and diversify Alberta's economy.

Board members are appointed by order in council by the government to provide effective governance from across the province. Three new members have been appointed who have the competency, experience and personal attributes to help lead the efforts of Travel Alberta CEO Bruce Okabe and his staff.

Tracey Edwards, president and CEO of Lakeland College in Vermillion; Rajko Dodic, lawyer and former mayor of Lethbridge; and Shannon Bowens-Smed, president and CEO of Bowen Workforce Solutions in Calgary, will accept new positions on Oct. 1 when long-serving board members Jan Fisher and David Baynes conclude their terms.

David Parker appears Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Read his columns online at He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or email

© Calgary Herald 2014



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