Prairie Block in Marda Loop.jpg

Prairie Block


On June 6, 2017, a fire destroyed the 1950s-era one storey building in the Marda Loop commercial district in Calgary. Forty firefighters and their twelve trucks were able to keep the fire from spreading to the adjacent buildings.

Our project replaces this building with a two-storey mixed-use project that meets the goals of the local area redevelopment plan for Marda Loop to transform from a suburban commercial strip into a mixed-use urban hub.


The main floor is devoted to retail use that faces both adjacent streets, and will be occupied by a Prairie Records branded cannabis store operated by Westleaf.

The upper floor is designed to accommodate a single or multiple office tenants. Though the redevelopment plan allows for a taller building, parking minimums in Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw limited the total area of the building.


Because of his own personal interest in clocks, the owner asked us to provide one on the building. We took this as a challenge to incorporate a timepiece into the facade.

The passing hours are represented by the 24 LED ‘ticks’ along the parapet. There are 12 on each building face, with the north facade representing the morning, and the east facade representing the afternoon. The ticks change from dark blue to white with each passing hour.

The minutes are marked by the 60 LED ticks above the soffit of the main floor. On the hour, before all the minute ticks change back to dark blue, there is a minute-long light show where the minute ticks sparkle with a much broader spectrum.

Architecture: Gravity Architecture
Rendering: Phrame and Gravity Architecture