Must-See Winter Design Festivals This Holiday Season In Edmonton

Aside from the Christmas season, Edmonton winters often seems dark, cold and endless. However, winter in our city doesn’t have to involve hibernating for months on end. In fact, there are so many wonderful and inspiring outdoor festivals for us to attend.

From exploring our arts and cultural scene to eating, drinking and breathing in the cold, these six festivals have something for everyone – local design enthusiasts included!

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Winter Design Festivals Lenmak Exteriors

Christmas Reflections (December 16-17 and 20-23)

With horse-drawn wagon rides, carols, crafts and warm cookies straight from the wood stove, Fort Edmonton’s Christmas Reflections is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday season while diving into the city’s past.

Marvel at the buildings of yore and partake in the traditions of our ancestors. For the kiddos, Father Christmas will be attending a pancake breakfast on the morning of the 16th to help kick things off. For the adults (and lovers of Edmonton architecture) pay close attention to the massive Rowand House, the Rutherford House and the reconstructed Ottewell Homestead.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased online via the Fort Edmonton website. 



Deep Freeze Festival (January 13-14)

Featuring a 53-foot ice slide (and a 12-foot slide for the little ones), the Deep Freeze Festival is sure to delight fans of innovative design. Celebrating Russian/Ukrainian “Olde New Year,” Deep Freeze offers authentic culture, winter games and activities. Last year’s “Village Upside Down” presented impressive sculptural projects, and this year’s “Into the Winter Grove” is sure to do the same.

The festival, now in its eleventh year, has also been credited with helping to revive the city’s once derelict Alberta Avenue. Admission is free, but organizers ask attendees to donate a few dollars, which will keep the festival alive well into the future.



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Ice on Whyte (January 25-28 and February 1-4)

A festival that focuses on music, theatre and art, with the piece de resistance being the International Ice Carving Competition.

Professional artists from around the world have 34 hours to transform a 297-pound of pristine ice into a stunning sculpture. With a family pass costing only $20 – and $7 for a single adult ticket – Ice on Whyte is an affordable way to enjoy the melding of art and design.



Flying Canoe Volant (February 2-3)

Embracing both winter and long winter nights in order to celebrate local founding cultures such as Metis and Indigenous, this festival is named for a French nobleman who skipped Sunday Mass to go hunting and was cursed to fly the night skies forever in a canoe pursued by wolves. With music and art, Flying Canoe Volant focuses on cultural, interactive events, such as lighting installations sure to wow design enthusiasts.



Lenmak Exteriors Winter Design Festival

Photo Credit: Silver Skate Festival

Silver Skate Festival (February 9-19)

Much like Ice on Whyte, the annual Silver Skate Festival has much to offer in the way of winter fun. Skate races, figure skating demonstrations, skiing, snowshoeing, live music and theatrical performances. Plus, the Hawrelak Park location is perfect for the extremely popular – and extremely impressive – ice castle, built from icicles by hand to resemble organic formations found in nature.

Compared to frozen waterfalls, glaciers and ice caves, visitors can walk through the massive sculpture. While the festival only runs for 10 days, the ice castles should be open from the end of December until March, weather permitting.



Front Yards in Bloom: Winterscapes (All Winter)

A winter-long event hosted by the City of Edmonton, Winterscapes is an extension of the popular Front Yards in Bloom initiative, which encourages Edmontonians to beautify their yard for all to enjoy. Awards are given in three categories – winter garden, winter art and winter play.

Winter gardens feature landscaped yards with winter-friendly plants and wildlife-friendly additions. Winter art includes winter scenes including snow and ice sculptures, often embellished with material, colour and lights. Winter play is all about whimsical elements such as snow slides, forts, ice creations and tree ornaments. This event offers something for everyone and is available for anyone to view.



Edmonton Winter Festival Lenmak Exteriors

Winter Design Strategy

Not a festival, but the City of Edmonton’s Winter Design Strategy is doing wonders for enticing residents into the great outdoors during the colder months. The guidelines call for the implementation of five winter design principles – incorporation of strategies to block wind, maximizing exposure to sunshine through orientation and design, using colour to bring life to the cityscape, strategic use of creative lighting and providing infrastructure that supports winter living.

With strategies like these, Edmontonians are sure to continue exploring the city (and the beautiful design and architecture it offers) all year long!

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When Cities Grow: A Critical Examination of Architecture’s Response to Rapid Urbanization

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is showing signs of rapid urbanization, highlighting a need to bring a new innovative approach to city planning.

The Capital City and the surrounding communities of Lamont, Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona and Sturgeon County are expected to reach a population of 2.2 million by 2044, with Edmonton comprising of 1.4 million. The 2016 federal census shows the city grew by 14.8% since the 2011 census, making it Canada’s fastest growing major city. With this new momentum, the city has created a Growth Plan, considering many options to adapt, one being architecture.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is showing signs of rapid urbanization, highlighting a need to bring a new innovative approach to city planning.

The Capital City and the surrounding communities of Lamont, Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona and Sturgeon County are expected to reach a population of 2.2 million by 2044, with Edmonton comprising of 1.4 million. The 2016 federal census shows the city grew by 14.8% since the 2011 census, making it Canada’s fastest growing major city. With this new momentum, the city has created a Growth Plan, considering many options to adapt, one being architecture.

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As we continue to prepare for this larger future, we observe how other cities have dealt with rapid urbanization.


Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi Pakistan rapid urbanization

The city of Karachi and the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of over 23 million. Additionally, the region’s population density is over 24,000 people per square kilometre. Numbers say Karachi is growing at an average rate of 5 per cent every year. With a population growth from 9.8 to 21.2 million between 1998 and 2011, an increase of 115 per cent, this is the fastest growing metropolitan region in the world.

It is no surprise that such a significant population surge has led to a shortage of housing and a greater economic divide. Strategic Development Planning shows a focus on high-rise development. For example, the Dolmen City project is now one of the largest and most prestigious mixed-use developments in Pakistan serving both commercial and corporate clients. The development includes two office towers, an Executive tower, two forty-story towers, and Pakistan’s largest shopping mall, The Dolmen Mall Clifton.


Shenzhen, China

shenzen china rapid urbanization

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As of 2016, the population of Shenzhen reached 12.51 million, already surpassing its projected population of 11 million by 2020. In just under 50 years, the city grew from 30,000 in the 1970s to over 10 million in 2016. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 56.1 per cent. Why such a surge? Shenzhen’s status as a financial centre is said to have transformed it into a hub of technology and manufacturing opening up many job opportunities. What was once a small market town has become a city alive with unique, upscale architecture.

The Universiade 2011 Sports Center is an example of Shenzhen’s luxurious architectural designs. Housing a stadium, a multifunctional hall and a swimming pool, this centre is inspired by Chinese horticulture, philosophy and the surrounding undulating landscape. The steel prismatic building shell rises above an artificial lake and raised promenade.

shenzen china rapid urbanization

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Lagos, Nigeria

In the 1970s, Lagos had a population of 1.4 million. However, with a population growth of 48.2 per cent between 2000 and 2010, it now produces 25 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and is Africa’s new largest city with a population of 21 million. Further, the population of Lagos is expected to double by 2050 to make it the 3rd largest city in the world. One issue with such rapid growth? Lagos is also slated to have less infrastructure than any other large city in the world.

As a result, the Lagos government is focused on transportation and development. This can be seen in Victoria Island, a 10 million square metre development that will include residential, office, and retail space. For example, The Atlantic Resort, one of the island’s slated developments, will house 124 apartments, 50 hospitality rooms and numerous offices.

Lagos Nigeria rapid urbanization

Image credit: Estate Intel

Responding to Rapid Urbanization in Edmonton

When we look at other growing cities around the world, it is remarkable to think that Edmonton is Canada’s fastest growing major city. Not long ago, our reputation was primarily industrial; however, Edmonton is now creating its own story of architectural renaissance amidst rapid urbanization.

We couldn’t be more proud to call Edmonton home and to contribute to the architectural response to the city’s future.


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The Inspiration Behind Aluminaire™: Modern Aluminium Exterior Cladding


In the world of architecture and design, there is arguably no word that holds more meaning. To stay fresh and innovative we must constantly find inspiration – in ourselves, in others, in the present and notably, in the past.

aluminaire house lenmak exterior innovations
A Frey model of the Aluminaire House.

The First All-Metal House

In 1931, American architect A. Lawrence Kocher and Swiss architect Albert Frey co-designed the United States’ first all-metal house. Known as Aluminaire House, the building attracted over 100,000 visitors when it was first exhibited in New York City as part of the Architectural and Allied Arts Exhibition.

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Frey had previously worked for modern architecture pioneer Le Corbusier before arriving in the United States, and the prominent architect’s influence played a significant role in the creation of this compact, cube-shaped home.


True Inspiration Never Fades

The Aluminaire House has been disassembled and moved numerous times over the years, often left to gather dust in storage for large periods of time. Yet, the building that helped launch an architectural movement cannot be forgotten – as illustrated by current plans to relocate it to Palm Springs.

It is the building’s tenacity and ability to inspire decades after its construction that led Lenmak Exterior Innovations to name our newest exterior cladding product after it – Aluminaire™ Panel Systems.

lenmak exterior innovations aluminaire metal cladding
Aluminaire™ Exterior Architectural Panel System

Innovation Meets Experience

Our Aluminaire™ aluminum exterior cladding is sophisticated and affordable. Sleek and classic. Perfect for single or multi-story construction, our panels are manufactured in vibrant colours using world-class robotics. Much like the Aluminaire House, this cladding system combines cutting edge innovation with tried and true knowledge acquired over years of experience.


Maximum Architectural Freedom

We know how hard businesses work to build brand recognition, which is why the Aluminaire™ cladding system easily incorporates brand colours and logos. Our panels also seamlessly integrate with surrounding products and existing wall conditions. This allows your building, as large or small as it may be, to inspire in a way similar to the Aluminaire house.


Time – The Most Valuable Commodity

As the saying goes, the world’s most valuable commodity is time, which is why we have set up a large-capacity automated process with the ability to complete custom orders days or weeks faster than competitive products. This means your order’s specifications are able to change as conditions on the job site change.


Limits Waste, Saves Energy

Over the past twenty years, we at Lenmak Exteriors have noticed a shift in the design and construction industry towards more sustainable practices. We decided early on we wanted to be at the forefront of this movement, which is why our products – such as Aluminaire™ – are created to exist in harmony with the environment. Made of recycled materials and 100 percent recyclable, Aluminaire™ panels do not contain any harmful toxins, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. Further, because we produce this aluminum exterior cladding on demand, waste is limited and energy is saved.

aluminaire house lenmak exterior innovations
The beginning of the Aluminaire House story.

Every Story Starts Somewhere

A. Lawrence Kocher was best known as the managing editor of an architectural magazine before he began work on the Aluminaire House.

Albert Frey was only 28 years old when he relocated to the United States and joined the project.

The Aluminaire House is now known as a “masterpiece of modernist architecture.”

These three examples illustrate that every great story starts somewhere; the story of Aluminaire™ Panel Systems starts here.

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lenmak exteriors features rogers place dialog atb

Industry Highlight: Local Edmonton Architecture Firms Making an Impact in 2017

For many, summer is a time to relax, take vacation and enjoy the long days in the sun. However, in an architect’s world, it means productivity. This is the season where concepts come to life, and designs go from paper to production.

As we get into the heat of summer, let’s celebrate a few of the firms making an impact on Edmonton’s architecture community by taking a look at the latest and upcoming buildings the city is buzzing about.

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Edmonton Architecture Firm: DIALOG

lenmak exteriors features rogers place dialog atb
Image credit: Sportsnet

Now, here is a firm making its impact all over town. DIALOG has offices across the country, but when looking at Edmonton, how could we not start our list with Rogers Place? This, the building that kicked off the Downtown Revitalization, is a game changer for Edmonton. Not only has it brought a new sense of community to our city, but also it is the beginning of the Ice District.

In partnership with American worldwide firm HOK, DIALOG and Atb (Arch Tkalcic Bengert)* designed a 1.1 million sq. ft arena, seating 18,347 hockey fans, and 20,147 concert goers. All of this has been created in an eco-friendly fashion; Rogers Place is Canada’s first LEED Silver-certified NHL arena, using 37% less water and 14% less energy.

*Note: As of of October 2016, Atb is affiliated with Stantec.

dialog concept brewery district edmonton
Image credit: DIALOG

Another notable project concepted by DIALOG is the Brewery District. Situated between the 124 Street local scene and the bustle of downtown, the Brewery District brings life to the iconic Molson building. The pedestrian orientated development seamlessly places retail, commercial, and residential buildings in one place, creating a one-stop-shop for surrounding residents.

royal alberta museum dialog
Image credit: DIALOG

While the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) looks nearly finished from the outside, we still have to wait till 2018 for the doors of the largest museum in Western Canada to open. With a design incorporating floor to ceiling windows for a large portion of the building, this 420 sq. ft building will shine in Edmonton’s Art District. Inspired by transparency, the RAM wants to be accessible to everyone, and what better way to do this then uncovering all of Alberta’s mysteries via windows.

edmonton architecture firms dialog lenmak exterior cladding
The Oliver - Exterior Cladding | Lenmak Exterior Innovations

Last, but not least, if you travel to opposite side of Jasper Ave, you will be struck by a 12-storey highrise with glimmering copper accents – this is The Oliver. We partnered with DIALOG and Clark Builders to create custom, durable, panels for the exterior of The Oliver. We were able to do this while adhering to budgets and being environmentally conscious.

Edmonton Architecture Firm: Manasc Isaac

edmonton architecture firm manasc isaac allard hall
Image credit: @daveography

Manasc Isaac is bringing more green to the downtown core. They are the firm behind the campus expansion of Edmonton’s urban institution, MacEwan University. Committed to sustainable design and incorporating green technologies, Manasc Isaac was the first to build Alberta’s first LEED Certified building and Edmonton’s first LEED Silver building, and now their latest project, Allard Hall, is mere months away from opening.

Opening in September, this 430,000 sq. ft building is the home of the music, theatre, and fine art programs, and features galleries, theatres, exhibition space, interactive teaching lab, sculpting studios, and more. With a striking glass-covered exterior with unique glazing to suggest black and white piano keys, there is no doubt that this is Edmonton’s state-of-the-art arts and culture centre.

Edmonton Architecture Firm: Kennedy

edmonton architecture firm kennedy lenmak exterior cladding

Locally known as the “hi-rise guys” for their work on numerous taller residential projects, Kennedy left our city in awe with their design of The Wellspring. Located in Southwest Edmonton on the South Campus of the University of Alberta, the Wellspring Edmonton brings needed programs to cancer patients and their families. Wellspring provides a warm and homelike space to guests and not the typical sterile feel that clinics and hospitals emit. We were privileged to work with Kennedy architectural firm to ensure the exterior of Wellspring still looked like a home. We used our steel roofing and OmniClad, InterClad, and StrataClad on the exterior, creating durability while not compromising esthetics.

Edmonton Architecture Firm: dub

One of dub architects‘ latest projects is tucked on the outskirts of downtown Edmonton at Jasper Ave and 96 Street. Hyatt Place is the defining landmark for Edmonton’s emerging Quarters district and the Armature – the city’s  first green street. Committed to creating contemporary designs, dub still devotes itself to preservation, renovation, and

conversion of existing historic buildings, and Hyatt Place does just that.  This 12-storey-mixed-use building consists of over 250 hotel rooms and ground level commercial space, bringing a modern edge to the surrounding historic buildings.  We were very excited to work on downtown’s newest hotel, and be a part of its revitalization, ( it’s been nearly 40 years since a new hotel has been built in the downtown core). The design incorporated our StrataClad and VertiClad for an exquisite finish. The distinctive exterior facade’s diagonal fold makes this building memorable to locals and visitors.

Though these are four exceptional Edmonton architecture firms making an impact in 2017, we don’t like to play favourites. There are a number of brilliant firms within our city – let us know your favourite building or firm, and we’ll be sure to feature them next time.

In the meantime, to learn more about Lenmak’s exterior cladding repertoire, don’t hesitate to download our Lenmak at a Glance ebook.

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lenmak canadian architecture vancouver science world

Celebrating 15 of Canada’s Most Iconic Buildings

In the wake of Canada’s 150th birthday, Lenmak is celebrating 150 years of Canadian architecture. From a 19th century Gothic-revival church to an aluminium-clad geodesic dome, architecture in Canada is as diverse as the people who call this country home.

Continue to celebrate Canada 150 with 15 of our country’s most iconic buildings.

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Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

by Frank Gehry

An iconic Canadian building by an iconic Canadian architect. The original AGO was built in 1918 and added to by various architects over the years. However, Gehry’s 2008 renovation made the gallery decidedly Gehry-esque – with a glass and wood facade said to resemble a “crystal ship.”

lenmak canadian architecture AGO

Banff Springs Hotel, Banff

by Walter S. Painter

Originally constructed in 1888, the hotel has undergone numerous transformations since. Most notably, the 1914 addition of a winged eleven story concrete and stone tower rendered the Scottish Baronial-style building as we know it today.

lenmak canadian architecture banff springs hotel

Chan Centre for Performing Arts, Vancouver

by Bing Thom

Known for its eloquent balance of modern elements blended with nature, this performing arts centre has won numerous architectural awards. The zinc-panelled structure – completed in 1997 – is located on the University of British Columbia campus.

lenmak canadian architecture chan centre ubc

Monique Corriveau Library, Quebec City

by Dan Hanganu

Originally a church constructed in 1964 by Jean Marie-Roy, this stunning building was converted into a library in 2013. Hanganu himself noted how the conversion of such a historic building – which he described as a “huge tent inflated by the wind” – deserved a special level of reverence.

lenmak canadian architecture monique corriveau

Canada Place, Vancouver

by Zeidler Roberts, Musson Cattel MacKey and DA Architects

The multi-firm effort resulted in what has been referred to as Vancouver’s Sydney Opera House for its five 90 foot sails made out of teflon coated fibreglass. While the original building was constructed in 1926 for shipping use, the sails were part of an addition for Expo 86.

lenmak canadian architecture canada place

Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau

by Douglas Cardinal

With an average of 1.2 million visitors per year, the CMH is Canada’s most visited museum. Built in the 1980s, architect Douglas Cardinal designed the building to reflect the country’s landscape – such as the Glacier Wing, which is built out of 90 tons of copper.

lenmak canadian architecture museum of civilisation

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

by Bruce Price

Designated a national historic site in 1981, the Chateau Frontenac is a perfect example of chateau-style hotels built by Canadian railway companies in the late 19th century.

lenmak canadian architecture chateau frontenac

CN Tower, Toronto

by John Andrews, Roger Du Toit and the Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership

Now the third tallest tower in the world, this Canadian symbol was at the top of the list for 34 years. A sloping concrete pedestal with a circular observation pod at the 342-metre mark, the tower was named one of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World in 1995.

lenmak canadian architecture cn tower

Habitat 67, Montreal

by Moshe Safdie

One of the world’s most recognized apartment buildings, Habitat 67 was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie when he was still a student at McGill University. Comprised of 354 identical prefabricated concrete forms, the building integrates the benefits of suburban living with the economics of an urban apartment complex.

lenmak canadian architecture habitat 67

The Montreal Symphony House, Montreal

by Jack Diamond

Completed in 2011, this glass-fronted building creates a play between those gathered inside the concert hall’s lobby and those strolling through the cultural heart of the city – Place des Arts.

lenmak canadian architecture symphonique

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

by James O’Donnell

One of the oldest examples of Gothic-revival architecture in Canada, the building was considered daring when constructed in the late 1820s. Architect James O’Donnell never lived to see the completed structure, which remains the largest church in North America to this day.

lenmak canadian architecture notre dame basilica

Sharp Centre for Design, Toronto

by Will Alsop

Praised for its uniqueness, this black and white box perched atop 12 multi-coloured legs is the perfect setting for art students to learn and be inspired.

lenmak canadian architecture ocad

Parliament Buildings, Ottawa

by John A. Pearson and Jean-Omer Marchand

After a 1916 fire destroyed the majority of the original parliament buildings, architects John A. Pearson and Jean-Omer Marchand were tasked with a redesign. The primary objective? To uphold the intricate Gothic style of the original, while incorporating modern materials and spatial planning.

lenmak canadian architecture parliament hill

Science World, Vancouver

by Bruno Freschi

This 155-foot tall geodesic dome has a total of 15,000 pounds of extruded aluminum and aluminum panels on its exterior and served as the Expo Centre during Expo 86.

lenmak canadian architecture vancouver science world

Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver

by Moshe Safdie

Another Moshe Safdie masterpiece, this “urban coliseum” is known for its circular shape. Built in 1995, the library is one of the city’s most popular destinations and has even made appearances on TV shows such as Battlestar Galactica.

lenmak canadian architecture vancouver public library

Looking to create as much of an impact as these iconic buildings have on our country? We may be able to help with that. Download Lenmak at a Glance to learn more about how our exterior cladding can create the right aesthetic punch.

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An Inside Look at Edmonton’s Architectural Renaissance

While Edmonton may be better known for hockey, festivals and as “The Oil Capital of Canada,” there’s another area the city is quickly garnering a reputation in – innovative architecture. Here are five current or recent projects contributing to Edmonton’s architectural renaissance.

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Art Gallery of Alberta

Located at 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Recently named one of the most beautiful museums in the world by prominent architecture website Curbed, the Art Gallery of Alberta features a ribbon of stainless steel that swoops both throughout and around the building. Called “The Borealis,” this massive architectural feature is made up of many pieces, yet appears seamless thanks to the smooth exterior finish. The swirling design is said to represent the city’s winding river and ever-changing weather as well as the Northern Lights.

Hyatt Place Downtown Edmonton

Located at 9576 Jasper Avenue

It’s been nearly forty years since a new hotel opened in downtown Edmonton, but Hyatt Place makes it worth the wait. Mayor Don Iveson recently referred to the hotel as a “stunning cornerstone” of the new pedestrian-oriented corridor, the Armature. With 258 rooms and 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, the hotel offers luxuries such as a massive fitness room, a hot tub and free breakfast at a moderate price. As for the building’s facade, Lenmak Exteriors provided StrataClad® and VertiClad™ paneling systems to create a custom, high-end finish that complements the hotel’s modern yet timeless design.

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Rogers Place

Located at 10220 – 104 Avenue

The most advanced sports and entertainment venue in North America, Rogers Place has received numerous awards for its standout design. With a curvaceous stainless steel exterior, the arena is considered the centerpiece of Edmonton’s ICE District. The building has been called “iconic” and trade publication Pollstar recently nominated it as the concert industry’s best new venue. Inside, the largest true high-definition scoreboard in the NHL and a 45-foot circular mosaic, by internationally acclaimed Albertan artist Alex Janvier, blends technology with culture.

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Royal Alberta Museum

Located at 10344 – 97 Street

Designed to showcase the province’s natural and human history, amidst the city’s downtown arts district, the Royal Alberta Museum hopes to attract a variety of exhibits from around the world when it opens in late 2017. At 419,000 square feet, it’s the largest museum in Western Canada –having twice as much floor space as the previous building. With natural materials such as limestone wrapping the exterior, mixed with extensive use of glass, the museum is both commanding and airy.

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Stanley Milner Library

Located at 10212 Jasper Avenue

One of downtown Edmonton’s most visited buildings, the Stanley Milner Library, is in the midst of a massive renovation. Perhaps most dramatic will be the new facade, which will feature a sleek and futuristic design – giving other impressive downtown building exteriors a run for their money. As eye-catching as the building will appear from outside, more true innovation is happening inside. Striking views of both the city and the library’s own interior spaces, tons of natural light and an expanded children’s section are all a part of the project, which is set to be completed by 2020. Lenmak has heard rumours as to where this exterior could be coming from, so stay tuned for updates.

Freedom to Innovate

As these five projects illustrate, Edmonton is set to make its mark as a global leader in forward-thinking architecture. At Lenmak Exteriors, our products place us directly in line with the city’s new aesthetic and we consider our work to be as reliable as it is beautiful. Contact us, or download our FREE Lenmak at a Glance eBook to learn more about how our products can give you the freedom to innovate.

Lenmak Exterior Innovations