Newly revitalized St. Patrick’s Island is one of Calgary’s oldest parks, reserved as breathing space amid a dynamic Downtown core and business sector. SAHURI + Partners designed a unique vision for a new park bridge that would create a symbolic, but functional connection between two communities.
The independent concept is inspired by Calgary’s natural beauty and seasonal patterns of the local environment, especially during fall and winter. The bridge would measure 1,555m2 and the design employs recycled materials with sustainability a priority. White glass shards, reminiscent of mountain river ice jams, shelter the simple, clean-span trestle bridge with the main structural trusses built up in a seemingly random, naturalistic pattern.
The structural elements are a metaphor for silent aspen woodland, interwoven forest branches and fallen timber, frozen river ice crystals, sparkling streams, and frosted beaver dams and spider webs. Several dock-like landings along the crossing span provide viewing platforms where one can view the city lights and surrounding natural beauty.
At night, the bridge sparkles with solar-powered down lighting, highlighting its interesting aesthetics and providing a safely-lit passage for local pedestrians and cyclists. The design works into the regional pathway system, attracting visitors to the island. It respects the surrounding context and environment, and recognizes the river’s seasonal variations. The design includes conceptual considerations of foundations, river protection works, bridge superstructure, surfaces, handrails, lighting, and drainage system.
The superstructure’s minimum elevation is 1042.85 meters, one meter above the river’s yearly high water elevation. The freeboard at mid-span is 1.5 meters above maximum recorded ice level, and can withstand crushing ice strengths of 700 kPa. Deck drains are positioned to directly discharge into a settling basin on the island, and not into the river. Source by SAHURI + Partners Architecture.