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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Peace Bridge
Calgary, Canada
A Santiago Calatrava Design

Peace Bridge

Nestled between the banks of the Bow, just west of Prince's Island Park, the Peace Bridge will be built to accommodate the increasing number of people commuting to and from work and those who simply want to enjoy Calgary's pathways.

This unique structure will connect the Eau Claire area and Hillhurst-Sunnyside, carrying thousands of Calgarians each day. Calgary's downtown is home to over 30,000 residents along with 120,000 employees. This area continues to grow as 40,000 new residents and over 60,000 additional employees are expected in the downtown area by 2035.

With more people choosing to live and work in the core and surrounding areas, there will be more people travelling by foot, bicycle, or in-line skates in and out of the city centre.

View Copyrighted Renderings.

Responding to growth: now and the future

The need for new pedestrian bridges leading into the downtown core is clear. Calgarians are using the infrastructure currently in place and the demand continues to grow for more. City Council has prioritized investment in alternative modes of transportation to help address current demand and accommodate for future capacity:
  • The Bow River Pathway system in the Eau Claire area is the busiest in the city's entire 660 km pathway network. Each day, 13,000 pedestrians and cyclists travel across the Louise Bridge, the LRT bridge near 10 St. SW and the Prince's Island bridge. In the first year, the Peace Bridge is expected to serve 5,000 people per day, or 1.3 million people per year.
  • More than ever, Calgary's pathways are being used to travel downtown. The proportion of pedestrians and cyclists commuting into the core each morning increased from six per cent in 1996 to 10 per cent in 2006.
  • The average distance travelled by a commuter cyclist in Calgary is 10 km or 28 minutes of riding one way. Approximately 48 per cent of Calgarians live within 10 km of the downtown core.
  • Employment in downtown is projected to grow from 120,000 today to 180,000 in 2035.
  • Residential population in downtown is projected to grow from 30,000 today to more than 60,000 by 2035.
Council has approved key directions for land use and transportation with a focus on greater mobility choices. Downtown is the most compact area of Calgary and the densities of inner city communities such as Eau Claire, East Village, Hillhurst-Sunnyside and The Bridges will continue to increase. More transportation choices are important due to the limited opportunities to add new roads in the core. With more people choosing to live and work in the core and surrounding areas, more trips will be made by foot, bicycle, or in-line skates in and out of the city centre. This growth means that up to two traffic lanes would be required to accommodate the number of pedestrians crossing the Bow River during the morning peak hours. Increasing mobility choices means offering convenient, attractive walking and cycling facilities to support this desirable growth alternative commuting.

Mobility choices and sustainability

Council has set priorities that encourage alternate forms of transportation (2006-2008 Council Priority 2.1), increase mobility choices (November 2008 Council Land Use and Mobility Key Direction), specify increased planning, funding, implementation and maintenance of facilities for pedestrians and bicycles (2009-2011 Council Priority 4.2). The priorities set out by Council ensure that citizens have choice when selecting mobility options appropriate for how they work, live and travel within Calgary. These priorities also encourage sustainable transportation options that complements The City's existing infrastructure.

Calgarians have said they prefer initiatives that promote sustainable modes of transportation as key components of Calgary's long-term environmental and mobility plans. Citizens also indicate a strong desire for infrastructure that enhances Calgary's attractiveness and creates distinct public spaces. In particular, the Centre City Plan calls for "design excellence" with a fundamental principle to "put pedestrians first" with enhanced pedestrian corridors.

According to the Centre City Plan, pedestrians and cyclists are given the "highest priority because of the vitality they add to the public realm and because of their low environmental impact". Supporting more sustainable modes of transportation means existing neighbourhoods will be preserved and enhanced, less energy will be consumed and there will be enhanced transportation choices for all Calgarians.

The Peace Bridge ranked high in the 2009 – 2018 Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan (TIIP) PDF File. This plan supports Council's goals and objectives of providing a variety of transportation options for Calgarians.

The Peace Bridge meets Council's desire for more sustainable transportation options and supports healthy and environmentally-friendly transportation choices, while enhancing and complementing a world-class downtown core. It embraces the vision set out by Calgarians to create connections between communities and move towards a more sustainable and vibrant city. This bridge is part of an integrated approach to keeping Calgarians on the move and encouraging citizens to use alternate modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, transit and carpooling.

Project scope

In September 2008, Calgary City Council approved the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Bow River west of Prince's Island Park. The location of the bridge is designed to create a convenient link for users of Calgary's pathway system and pedestrians wishing to travel between the Sunnyside LRT Station and central downtown destinations such as Eau Claire.

This bridge design addresses safety and comfort for users by offering:

  • A 6.2-metre wide pathway, double the width of other pedestrian bridges in the area.
  • A clear separation between pedestrian and bicycle/wheel traffic for safety.
  • Canopy-style glazed roof supports year round use while maintaining natural light.
  • Lighting for night time use.
The bridge was designed by award-winning architect and bridge designer Santiago Calatrava. His design work spans the globe and includes numerous road and pedestrian bridges (Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay External Site., Redding, California), airports (Lyon Airport StationExternal Site., France), and transportation centres (World Trade Center Transportation HubExternal Site., New York City).
  • A 6.2-metre wide pathway, double the width of other pedestrian bridges in the area.
  • A clear separation between pedestrian and bicycle/wheel traffic for safety.
  • Canopy-style glazed roof supports year round use while maintaining natural light.
  • Lighting for night time use.
The majority of the project will be tendered through competitive processes. This includes construction supervision and geotechnical investigation, hydrotechnical reviews, electrical designers, utility relocations, construction and landscaping. The design of the bridge was single-sourced. Examples of Transportation projects where the design component was provided to a single contractor include Legsby Pedestrian Bridge (Cohos Evamy); Graves Bridge Twinning (CH2M Hill); and Macleod Trail/Shawnessy-Midlake Boulevard Interchange (Stantec).

The Calgary office of Stantec Consulting is providing technical support and the Transportation department is providing management expertise for the project.

Protecting the environment

In addition to its striking form, the Peace Bridge supports several of The City's priorities including environmental protection. The design of the 130-metre long, single span bridge will minimize the environmental impacts of construction and permanent bridge installation over the Bow River.

As well, the bridge is designed to:

  • Withstand Calgary's one-in-100-year flood cycle.
  • Meet a minimum 75-year life span.
  • Allow barrier-free access for people of all mobility types.


The new pedestrian bridge is anticipated to be tendered in the fall of 2009, allowing construction to begin later this year. The bridge is expected to open to the public in 2010.


Funding for the Peace Bridge is provided by the City's Capital Budget. For the Transportation department, targeted expenditures of capital are directed by TIIPPDF File which defines the priority and timing of major infrastructure construction projects. This program emphasizes pedestrian and cycling in high-density areas where these modes are more efficient at moving people, support land use and lessen environmental impacts.

  • Construction – approximately $18 million (pricing to be known following the tendering process).
  • Architectural and structural design, specialized engineering and quality assurance – $3.903 million.
  • Calatrava's design fee is in line with the industry standard for architectural fees for similar projects of about 12 per cent of the total construction cost.
  • Project administration and contingency – $2.450 million.
To see similar bridge costs, see the Pedestrian Bridge Cost Comparisons.


104 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Calgary's $24.5M Footbridge Unveiled To Cheers, Jeers

July 29, 2009

Calgary Herald
Jason Markusoff

CALGARY - The newly released design for the city's new pedestrian bridge has been derided by some Calgarians as a gaudy red waste of $24.5 million, and praised by others as a sleek, elegant contribution to downtown Calgary.

But to the architect, Santiago Calatrava, the Bow span is the most accessible, functional and technically challenging one he's ever made.

"For me, it's a highlight, because I have never done a bridge like that," Calatrava said in an exclusive interview with the Herald.

"Of the 14 bridges I have built, there's not one that follows this principle, not one that is done with this purity. And technically, it is a demanding bridge."

Limited by City Hall's demand that no pillars go into the Bow River, and that no high masts interfere with the nearby Eau Claire helipad, the famed architect-engineer designed a webbed, tubular structure that stretches 130 metres across the water with only a slight, one per cent slope.

Unlike almost every other bridge on Earth, the steel helix supports itself, needing no beams, arches, cables or lower supports other than embankments, hidden in the river banks.

The Peace Bridge will be completed in fall 2010, offering separate pathways for cyclists and pedestrians.

Calatrava described it repeatedly as a "human bridge," one he envisions in what he called "Canadian red," in a nod to our flag, but also to make it stand out in winter and summer.

T he Spanish-born architect said he's aware of public and council lambasting of the project's cost and extravagance in the midst of recession. But he said the rebuttal is offered by New York City, which he currently calls home.

"I think the greatest achievements in New York is the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Center, the George Washington Bridge. Those were all built in the Great Depression," he said.

"One day or another this crisis will be finished and we will show ourselves to the future generations as courageous people, living in their future, not only in our future. I mean, in New York you have those great buildings, the greatest in the city, built in the most beautiful time."

Initial public response was mostly negative, much of it with a resentment rooted in the project's cost and skepticism of the need for a sixth bridge that pedestrians can take across the Bow downtown.

"It is hideous and I can't believe what it costs--ridiculous," Tracey Bryant wrote to the Herald.

"I cannot believe that a local architect could not have come up with a more original and appealing design," Susan Waters wrote.

"This to me looks like something a child in school would dream up and it would cost far less than $24.5 million."

Others were impressed by the unique design.

"Brilliant! Beautiful! Be proud, Calgary!" said Gordon Heinsen.

"Words that came immediately to mind when I first saw the design for the Peace Bridge were:symmetrical, fluid and airy," said Greg Schoeman.

"As interesting and as beautiful from the inside as the outside. I can't wait to walk or bike across it!"

Mayor Dave Bronconnier, accused by some aldermen of trying to deflect criticism by giving the bridge a military theme, said it's a design that will nicely link the modern condos in Eau Claire to a beautified Memorial Drive, and reduce conflict between stroller-pushing parents and commuting cyclists.

"It's a piece of infrastructure, sort of like the Centre Street Bridge. It's a very nice structure, it serves its purpose and at the same time it's an attractive bridge."

The mayor dined with Calatrava when the architect last visited in May to present his design to city staff. Bronconnier said he was impressed with how humble Calatrava was, and with how interested he was in various aspects of the Bow River.

Calatrava agreed to an interview with the Herald during that visit, on the condition it not be published until the design was released.

"I have to say that the first impressions I got about the bridge when I arrived here was that a lot of people--in a very inhospitable day--were jogging around," he said.

"And I thought for those people, and in order to blend the communication of the north side with the south side of the river bank, you need a bridge that invites you to go through, even with the speed of the wind and the speed of the snowy weather."

The city now pegs construction costs at $18 million, but the overall project at $24.5 million, including engineering costs, landscaping and contingencies.

There's $500,000 left over that council has approved for conceptual designs of another pedestrian and cycling bridge connecting East Village to Bridgeland.

Trying to ward off critics of the price tag, the city released a chart comparing the cost per square metre of the Peace Bridge -- $30,400 per in 2008 dollars--with other well-known footbridges.

London's Millennium Bridge cost $50,000 per square metre, a forthcoming Edmonton crossing cost $33,000 per square metre, while the Esplanade Riel in Winnipeg averaged $50,000.

Ron Goodfellow, like many Calgary architects, was frustrated Calatrava was selected without any design competition and chance for locals to offer designs.

He thought the design was striking, although didn't seem genuinely Calgarian.

But he said it will contribute to the city if it raises awareness of what great architecture looks like.

"That's one thing I would be using as a measuring stick if it was successful or not, or just another celebrity architect coming into Calgary and imposing something," Goodfellow said.


The Peace Bridge

-130 metres long, 6.2 metres wide

-$18 million to construct, $24.5 million overall

-put up for construction bids this fall, completed next fall

-Bike lanes in the centre, pedestrian paths with handrails on either side

-Tempered glass covering on top panels, open side panels for air circulation

-Lit at night with LED lights


104 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just a heads up, this article appears to have had it's proof reading skipped.

Exclusive Q&A With Calgary 'Peace Bridge' Designer Santiago Calatrava

July 29, 2009

Financial Post
Jason Markusoff

When he last visited Calgary in May, architect Santiago Calatrava agreed to an interview with the Herald's Jason Markusoff, on the condition it not be released until his design was made public.

Herald: Other bridges you have designed look very different from this one. How did your past experience designing bridges contribute to your design of this one?

Santiago Calatrava: I’m more inclined to say it’s a unique bridge. I have never done a bridge like that, even in the use of colours. You see, mostly my bridges are all white and this has, I call it, Canadian red. I have to say it has been an opportunity of renewal. Also I have to say that the first impressions I got about the bridge arriving here was that a lot of people – in a very inhospitable day – were jogging around. And I thought for those people, and in order to blend the communication of the north side with the south side of the river bank you need a bridge that invites you to go through, even with the speed of the wind and the speed of the snowy weather. This brought me to put some functional criteria up front – covering the bridge. So it’s important that this has also a very strong human character. You understand, you could do a bridge that is almost like an adventure to cross it, like a trekking trail, or something like that, or you can do a suspended bridge that even moves a little or whatever. But I wanted to do a very human bridge. A bridge that invited the people of one side to go into the other, and vice versa. Not only people who are jogging and so, but also regular citizens that take their bicycle and go for a tour in Prince’s Island or downtown. You see a mother with a child who push the small caddy. I wanted to do a very human bridge. I think that whent he bridge was explained to me, was explained as a connection between one part of the city into another one, in which many people will go to work also by using bicycles or whatever. And I thought it is necessary to do a very human bridge.

If you look at the cityscape at the one side, it’s all tall buildings. And many people form their apartment will be able to see the bridge at night. It doesn’t mean the bridge will not landmark the area. And it’s also on the other side by having the city so consolidated with those tall buildings behind, it’s very difficult as a landmark to compete with a mast, that will be maybe only 16 metres high, when the buildings around are 100 metres. So sometimes those tall elements are good when they are in shallow environments because they really landmark the place... But what is the real landmark in this park is the whole front of the city, which keeps growing. So I thought by doing a horizontal element, I may even distinguish it more. You could imagine the bridge standing up, and it would be a good skyscraper. But this is a horizontal landmark.

: Does this bridge mark a new phase in your bridge-building? It in some ways looks like the last one you built over Venice’s canal. That one was even red, like this one.

: No no, the colour of the bridge in Venice is Rosso Veniziano – it’s almost a brownish red. And the red we are trying to use here is very close to the red you can see in the leaves here sometimes, or in the Canadian flag. To do a very clear red and white configuration. You see, I came here on a very cold winter day. All for me was white around. I thought, if I do a white bridge in this place, it’s not the type of contrast I would like to have in the different seasonal colours. The (promotional) video pretends to be from the fall to the winter to the spring to the summer, and the red is recognizable in all those situations. So this is what made me choose the colour. However, you know the interior of the bridge is white. I wanted to do something more appealing and add to the river’s sense of cleanness. Even the stones in the paving, we would like to have it very light, maybe in a grey or a beige colour.

Herald: Jadwiga Kroman, the project manager, told me a charming story of how when you visited that first time at Teatro, the restaurant, you wound up sketching on a napkin that very same design. Was that same idea what we see in the renderings, or has it changed?

S.C.: I have to say the sketches of the bridge were formed during the Christmastime. Ms. Kroman got for me a book with sketches, over 180 or 200 sketches, done by hand, showing steps toward the elliptical section. It was providential, the visit to Calgary, because I understood very much about the beauty of the place, as well I saw photos of Calgary you know with the Rockies behind, and I also know well other cities like Denver at the feet of the mountains. So respect for nature was one issue, minimalizing the environmental impact was another issue, and the other was to build a very comfortable bridge, a very human bridge. It’s different when you do a bridge going to Prince’s Island, because it is a recreation park. But when you do a bridge between one part of the city and another, like we wanted do here, you have to do this very attractive, very functional, very accessible, and people have to us that in an easy way.

For me, it’s a highlight, beause i have never done a bridge like that. Of the 14 bridges I have built, there’s not one that follows this principle, not one that is done with this purity. And technically it is a demanding bridge. It’s a highly technical bridge.

Herald: With that in mind, is this an architect’s bridge or an engineer’s bridge?

S.C.: You know that until the early 19th century there was no difference. There is a fellow called Pironay who has built many bridges. He was an architect and he was founder of Ecole Polytechnique, in the Napoleonic time, and this Pironay was the founder of the school from which started calling engineers instead of architects. in principle, there is not a difference. I think it is a bridge that is engineering-wise enormously challenging, and technically in my eyes it’s an achievement, it’s a very modern bridge. On the other hand it’s a bridge that tried to be very functional and very near and close to the people.

Herald: There’s disappointment from a lot of people in Calgary that there was an attempt to go beyond the functional, to bring you in, especially at this time where everyone is cutting back. I know you’ve experienced that your Chicago (condo) project, that that’s a victim of a recession. How do you feel about this as a time to build bridges of extravagance, of beauty?

S.C.: To build things with beauty, is a matter of dignity and not a matter of time. If you go to certain places where people have been living in the mediterranean areas before the tourists arrived. Yu could arrive into those Greek villages in the islands. It was those pristine white houses and these beautiful villages. People were living with very little resources. But it was clean, and it was pristine, and it was apulchritude. So i don’t think recession or not recession, the sensibility towards beauty is for all seasons.

At the other side, beauty and function are not fighting with each other. A bridge has to be functional, and we are here giving a lot of importance to the functionality, beause i think i wanted to do a bridge that was appealing that people use with pleasure and that it really serves the people directly.

And then the third thing is that remember, I am living in New York. I think the greatest achievements in new york is the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Center, the geroge washington bridge. those were all built in the great depression. The people should understand that difficult times is the time of renewal. It is the time to get in front of the challenges with a lot of courage and openness. And I think those buildings remain as witness of the people’s attitude of hope for the future. Because everybody knows today in the globe and mail there was an article that the American banking system is already showing signs that we are over the recession. One day or another this crisis will be finished and we will show ourselves to the future generations as courageous people, living in their future, not only in our future. I mean, in New York you have those great buildings, the greatest in the city, built in the most beautiful time.

: As I walk along the river bank, where this bridge is going to be, people I ask say this is the epitome of terrible decisions. This was a bad use of taxpayer’s money. Why should we be hiring this fellow from Spain to build this bridge? What do you make of this criticism?

S.C.: First of all, I am not so un-Canadian as I may appear. Because canada in my opinion is composed of many people from all over the world, among others from Spain. Spaniard are not foreigners in Calgary. Thanks to your sense of hospitality and welcoming you are a community that has demonstrated throughout the 20th century that you can build up a great country, taking in people willing to come here to work, and willing to come here to do the best, residents or non-residents. This has impressed me so much that I sent three of my boys to study in Canada. At the time I was building the BCE plaza (in Toronto). I thought that’s a good place to educate my children. So they’ve been in Lakefield College School all three of them. I’m very familiar with the country with the nature and the character of the people here. So I don’t consider myself 100 per cent a foreigner here, although I don’t live in Canada, I live in New York. Everybody coming here whether they are coming from India or coming from Japan or coming from China -- wherever they come -- I am sure we are inspired by a spirit to give our very best. Indeed I am very proud to have done for Calgary a very unique bridge. It is a bridge as I have never done, a bridge that will be built within budget and on time. I am also putting my know-how and 28 years of professionalism, projecting a bridge and doing that with a local firm, Stantec, who is my local partner here.

Herald: What does it say about a city that they select you as the designer. Everybody when they were talking about the bridge, especially in City Hall, were talking about an iconic bridge by an iconic designer. Atlanta has also pursued you for this city. Dallas has. Other cities have. What does it say about a city that they seek Santiago Calatrava to design for them a bridge or a building?

S.C.: Everybody who is working in this circumstance has to try in a very short period of time to not only hear the people around you, but also see and feel to get the spirit of the place. What fascinates me about the city is it is so you are such a young city. It is 115 years old, and compared to European cities it is a very very young. Whatever you do, if it has a certain character, is enormously appreciated by the people. Because I have experienced in other cities where I have built, in Milwaukee and in Toronto, you feel an enormous proudness, because people appreciate those things, particularly young people.


1 Posts
Peace Bridge Calgary Canada

íàðîä ó êîãî åñòü Peace Devision èëè H-foundation
ñåòû ëèâû ò.ä.

ताज़ा सम
517 Posts
I like the cycle path.:banana:

1 Posts
Another bridge was choosen

Hooray, I would just like to write down that the peace bridge was not chosen for Calgary. It showed poor understanding of what it means to be Calgarian. As a Calgarian, the bridge just felt like a stararchitect bullshit where one just tries to design something and wants to be worldly acknowledged for it.

This was the winning bridge. I think it's beautful and doesn't take away from the nature of the location.

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