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year                        2008
location                  CALGARY, AB  CANADA
client                      DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCEWORKS
project credit          KASIAN
completed              DEVELOPMENT PERMIT
status                     ON HOLD
gross floor area      2,601 m2  [28,000 ft2]
approx. cost            $5,000,000

Calgary’s Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) was founded in 1984 with a clear vision to return to the roots and rich history of jazz as a core to their education and basis for their performances.  Kasian Architecture was approached to design the new 28,000 square foot facility. The DJD design contains seven sound proofed studios which range in size from 1,190 square feet practice studios to a three storey 3,520 square foot main studio, all fitted out with the latest technologies to suit the needs of DJD.

Essentially, the DJD provides a cultural amenity to aid in the realization of this mixed-use neighbourhood. Organized by the same centre that donated the land and a residential developer, this neighbourhood includes a proposed 40-storey residential tower, a 36-storey hotel, a 19-storey office tower and an 11-storey connecting atrium to the centre’s existing office building. An enclosed bridge connects the DJD to the proposed office tower at the second level, creating an internal street leading to the tall atrium. On the third level, the lounge spills out onto a rooftop patio.
Due to site maximization, the DJD abuts the property line to the east where it is neighboured by a gas station resulting in a two hour fire rating required by the Alberta Building Code. A large graphic mural covers this wall and becomes a manner in which the DJD connects to the city;1st Street SE is a major artery for residents leaving the downtown core, the street art will be a visible cue to what occurs inside.
Street art is thus not only a subcultural and creative form of expression in the context of the street but also a contribution to the promotion of human communication. 1
-Sven Zimmermann
1. Zimmermann, Berlin Street Art (Berlin: Prestel, 2005), 3

At street level, a bench stretches across the north façade beside the buildings front entrance, in essence, giving a human scale to the project by creating a place where dancers can relax between classes or providing a rest stop for pedestrians strolling by.
Approaching the front entry of the DJD building, the architectural intent is made evident; similar to the motions of a jazz dancer, the building lifts up off the ground and extends out over entry ways and car ramps. The structure itself appears to be dancing with the street and the people who enter in. The space was designed to inspire creativity for the users within. Only time will tell how the architecture influences themas they continue to produce amazing performances for the city of Calgary.