Calgary

Bridgeland's 4th Avenue flyover repurposing takes national award

That space between Bridgeland-Riverside and the downtown core, underneath the Fourth Avenue flyover, is in the process of a makeover and the design can now be called award-winning.

'We looked at this project from multiple points of view,' says U of C environmental design professor

An artist's conception of the area under the Fourth Avenue flyover that connects Bridgeland and the downtown core. (University of Calgary)

That space between Bridgeland-Riverside and the downtown core, underneath the Fourth Avenue flyover, is in the process of a makeover and the design can now be called award-winning.

"Great," project lead Tawab Hlimi told The Homestretch, on how the award feels.

"There was a lot of work that was put into it and our efforts are being recognized."

Hlimi is an assistant professor at the University of Calgary's faculty of environmental design and contributed to the project.

The flyover project is the 2018 recipient in the National Urban Design Awards, Community Initiatives category, awarded by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Hlimi says a lot of people worked on the project.

Grade 6 students contributed to the project, along with the local community association and the University of Calgary. (University of Calgary)

We looked at this project from multiple points of view," he said.

"We all had a unique goal with an interest in creating walkable streets. The Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association had the interest of reclaiming a lost space before the Fourth Avenue flyover that is an important [connection] between the community and the downtown core."

And students were tapped for their perspectives.

"The Grade 6 students came in with, how do we program this green infrastructure foundation? The series of rain gardens, trails and permeable surfaces serve an ecological agenda. How can a social agenda be overlaid on top of that? We were looking for what kind of ideas the children had for the space. What kind of programs, from a child's point of view, could be integrated with the framework?" Hlimi said.

"A nature-play environment is what emerged through that process."

For many of us, the fourth avenue fly-over is just a road to get into downtown from the east end of the city. But underneath that busy ramp, on a dead end street, there's a public space that is being redesigned. It will include a rain garden, an outdoor ping-pong table and a play area for kids. The project just won a National Urban Design Award. Tawab Hilimi is the man behind the project. He is an assistant professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Calgary. 6:06

With files from The Homestretch.

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