Diverging Paths and Common Ground in Calgary, Canada
This project enhances two new side-by-side bridges in southern Calgary with grills across their spans and railings above, marked by two towers identifying the pedestrian path. These bridges will form the new southern gateway to the city.
The grills, towers and rails feature laser-cut metal patterning inspired by motion, the sky, the site, and nearby waterways. The metal work is painted a vibrant red color that ties back to the red roofs of the buildings in the neighboring community and the red found on the Canadian flag.
These bridges are part of an innovative highway interchange called a diverging diamond, the first in Canada, which promotes continuous movement. This new style of over-crossing is growing in popularity and its unique curving geometry influenced the patterning.
Our design concept is inspired by the perception of motion, as pedestrians, drivers and cyclists moving through the site, at various speeds, will experience it. It is important to consider and design for all those who will experience a project at this scale.
The pattern language includes overlapping curves to imply sine waves, relating to the concrete patterning of the MSE walls, created by the design team. This cohesion with the other disciplines on the design team is a hallmark of our work and helps to strengthen our projects.
At night, the grills and pedestrian towers are illuminated with programmable LED lighting promoting community connectivity with seasons, holidays and place. The lighting creates a warm, welcoming glow, creating beacons in the landscape.
The backlit grills are silhouetted in front of a space of colorful light. Containing the light in this manner reinforces the patterning and enhances the effect of the illumination.
The pattering turns from horizontal across the grills to vertical at the towers. This transformation of the same pattern creates a new and different experience. The towers seem to glow, as if lighted by fire.