St. Patrick's bridge finalists picked

Three finalists have been chosen in the design competition for a new pedestrian bridge over St. Patrick's Island.
The design by global architectural firm ARUP, with Falco Schmitt Architects of London, is described as a stress ribbon bridge. ((ARUP with Falco Schmitt Architects))

Three finalists have been chosen in the design competition for a new pedestrian bridge over St. Patrick's Island.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corp., the independent development company the city created to help revitalize the East Village, announced Tuesday that a 10-member advisory committee has narrowed the choice down to three of 35 submissions.

The new bridge will span the west tip of St. Patrick's Island between the East Village and the neighbourhood of Bridgeland. It will replace the existing GC King pedestrian bridge, which doesn't cross over to the other bank. St. Patrick's Island is connected to St. George Island, home of the Calgary Zoo.

The finalist are:

  • London-based ARUP and Falco Schmitt Architects for a "stress ribbon bridge with a landing on St. Patrick’s Island."
  • Vancouver-based Buckland and Taylor Ltd. and Victoria-based Kitchell for a bridge that is "poised, hovering and balanced, much like a bow."
  • Paris-based RFR and Calgary-based Halsall for an arching bridge that would make the "the river corridor [appear] minimally occupied."
Vancouver-based Buckland and Taylor Ltd. and Victoria-based Kitchell have proposed a design similar to a bow. ((Buckland and Taylor Ltd. and Kitchell))

Unlike the yet-to-be-built $22-million Peace Bridge, a project handed to award-winning Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, a design contest was held for this bridge.

Designers had to work within a $25-million budget set aside for the project. The bridge had to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, as well as connect to the pathways at each end of the bridge and on St. Patrick's Island.

"The three finalists were chosen because they’re respectful, elegant and functional and offer different attributes for consideration," agency president Chris Ollenberger said in a statement. "The advisory committee agreed that the bridge should be simple and elegant, and that the scale of the structure, in relation to the site and its surroundings, be complimentary and not be overwhelming."

Paris-based RFR and Calgary-based Halsall came up with a minimalist design concept. ((RFR and Halsall))

The Calgary Municipal Land Corp. held open houses and solicited comments on the 33 designs on its website and recorded 2,000 submissions from the public.

The three finalists will get $50,000 each after submitting advanced concepts by the end of January.

"Producing detailed designs from the concepts, with support drawings and models requires time, money and the focused attention of a team of engineers, architects and designers," said Ollenberger. "We felt it was important and necessary to provide a modest stipend to provide some assistance to the three finalists."