Edmonton International Airport’s new eight-storey Central Tower is a sight to behold! Opening in March 2013, the new tower represents a crowning achievement of EIA’s Expansion 2012 project, giving EIA a distinctive architectural landmark and the city of Edmonton a dramatic new gateway.
The tower became fully operational in March with the formal handover of the new air traffic control tower to NAV Canada. In addition to EIA offices, the tower also houses the headquarters of the Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. following its relocation from Edmonton City Centre Airport.
Better, Greener By Design
EIA’s Central Tower is a truly unique building. Designed by the Edmonton architectural firm DIALOG (formerly Cohos Evamy) in partnership with the London, Ontario-based EllisDon, the tower bears a distinctive shape featuring sculpted steel ribbons that evoke the windswept prairie landscape surrounding the Capital Region. The building’s interior also evokes the local landscape, with patchwork carpeting and ceiling patterns that mimic prairie farmland as viewed from the air.
This building does more than just mimic the natural world, though. The shape of the tower allows it to fully absorb the southern path of the sun while protecting it from prevailing northwestern winds and the lower easterly sunlight. The sculpted ribbons provide shade from the summer sun and capture sunlight during winter, while the continuous rows of windows serve as a conduit for natural light. The building’s spacious office layout is designed to minimize sightline barriers.
EIA is currently pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification for the new Central Tower.
Sitting atop the new Central Tower is EIA’s new NAV Canada Control Tower. This new location improves visibility for the airport’s air traffic controllers, giving them an excellent view of all the gates. The airside edge of the tower’s curvilinear roof slopes downward so as to maximize controllers’ view of Gates 59 and 50 (located on alternate sides of the building) while the tower’s forward-sitting location provides controllers with an excellent view of the entire airfield.
EIA’s new Central Tower gives the airport more than just office space and a new control tower. The tower’s arrivals-level base houses the airport’s new baggage area, which has doubled the airport’s baggage handling capacity. On the Departures level, the Central Tower Retail Area (Central Hall) houses 13 new shopping and dining outlets, including:
- Houston Steaks and Ribs
- Coney Island Candy
- Brioche Dorée Bakery and Café
- Tech on the Go
- Sunglass Hut
- Indigo Spirit
A mezzanine level spanning the Central Tower Retail Area provides ground-side (before security) access to the tower office occupants. The pedway above the retail area mimics Edmonton’s iconic High Level Bridge. The mezzanine level also features an observation deck, providing passengers and office workers with a superb view of the airfield.
The foot of the tower houses EIA’s new centralized baggage system. A substantial improvement over the airport’s pre-Expansion baggage system (which consisted of two separate systems at opposite ends of the terminal), the new system can deliver passengers’ bags to their flight from anywhere in the airport, with the latest in belt and screening technology ensuring maximum baggage protection and security.
Both inside and out, EIA’s Central Tower is a fitting emblem of a fast-growing airport and city!