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Originally built to house Alberta Government Telephones, the building has also housed opposition MLAs, government backbenchers, and departmental staff.
One politician reportedly called it an “architectural monstrosity” when it opened in 1953.
The former Progressive Conservative government proposed tearing it down and re-landscaping the area but never did. In 2016, the then-NDP government considered tearing down the building and following through with a 2011 conceptual plan that would see the site redeveloped, but that never happened.
Early this year, it topped Edmonton Journal columnist Keith Gerein’s list of buildings in the city that should be razed to the ground. Gerein called it a “12-storey middle finger to the legislature, festooned in a troublesome turquoise that must top the list of colours bridesmaids hope they never have to wear.”
Replacement plans are to still up in the air, but will be part of a “total refresh” of amenities around the legislature grounds, including attention to cracked concrete and degrading fountains, Panda said.
Living Dead Wall
The Annex isn’t the only government property that needs attention.
Six years after reopening following a $403-million facelift, the Federal Building will lose its living wall of greenery. The multi-level plant display in the building’s atrium — that now costs the government $70,000 a year to maintain — will be left to die. It’s a biofilter for the building’s air system, and will likely be removed in 2021 and replaced with sculptures as part of an ongoing upgrade of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.
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