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A.L Cole Pumphouse Design Study

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The planning context for adaptive re-use of the Pumphouse is provided by the South Downtown Concept Plan (2004). Key principles of this plan, with particular relevance to the Pumphouse, include:

  • support and strengthen Downtown and Riversdale and their relationships to the Riverfront
  • create a distinct identity and sense of place
  • design to be a destination
  • design for development viability
  • remember the past and plan for the future

More recently and specifically, the River Landing Phase 2 Riverfront Master Plan (2006) acknowledges the importance and potential of the Pumphouse as a major focus along the Riverfront. This design study explores this potential to highlight the historic and interpretive value of this resource, balanced with commercial opportunity

As the last surviving remnant of the Saskatoon Powerplant, and the only historic building remaining within the River Landing project area, the Pumphouse has unique and considerable potential as a destination.

The question remains, what needs to be done to make it safe for visitors and attractive for potential lessees? Considering its proximity to the river and location within River Landing, what ventures are most likely to succeed? Furthermore, given the historic significance of the site and building, what are the opportunities for, and requirements of, heritage interpretation at the site?

This design report outlines the architectural, landscape, commercial and interpretive goals, opportunities and recommendations in an effort to create the foundation for a destination that is commercially successful, honours the building’s heritage, and provides a unique setting for interpretation. Exploration of commercial and retail functions, while also identifying heritage aspects of the building that define its uniqueness and increase its value, were guiding principles. The building must be publicly accessible, made larger if necessary, and would become a major experience for River Landing visitors.

The Pumphouse has been neglected and requires basic intervention including building services, roofing, building envelope upgrades and environmental clean-up, to ensure safe and secure access. When complete, this stabilization process (to be undertaken in 2008) will allow the city to initiate discussions with potential lessees. In addition, public access to the Pumphouse roof will be provided.

Site, building, heritage and commercial opportunities and constraints form the basis for concept planning. Among the various possibilities explored, two clear options emerged. In each of these options, the vision is the same: the Saskatoon Pumphouse will be a destination that offers a unique combination of historic interpretation and commercial activity while allowing visitors to enjoy views of the South Saskatchewan River

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