Canada’s Glacier Skywalk Creates a Death-Defying Way to Experience Nature

by , 11/12/14
filed under: Architecture, Gallery


Glacier Skywalk, architecture and nature, sturgess architecture, discovery walk, discovery walk canada, tourist architecture, green design, bridges, building technology and nature, canada architecture, sunwapta valley, columbian icefields, tourism design

Overlooking the Sunwapta Valley along the Columbian Icefields in Alberta, Canada, the Discovery Walk has been designed as an extension of the landscape. It melds with the cliffs and protrudes outwards from the rugged mountainside with an ever-changing, bold geometric form. A viewing platform stretches far out over the valley to give views of the glaciers below, while adding a bit of a death-defying element to the design. Overall, the walk provides visitors with a shelter against the elements, that also serves to astound them with what surrounds them.

While we won’t argue with the dynamic design of the Discovery Walk, it does bring into question the use of building technology as a vehicle to experience nature. Is this design actually bringing individuals closer to the natural environment, or is it in fact creating another barrier?

+ Glacier Skywalk

+ Sturgess Architecture

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  1. brilang November 12, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I appalled that you would feature this very environmentally unfriendly tourist attraction that privatized a portion of Jasper National Park. I’m even more appalled that your article has been reposted today, November 12, 2014, more than three years after you originally posted it. I thought you people were about posting unique, interesting content. I see I was mistaken.

  2. Peter April 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    AAAAAARGH! Nice feature and design work, but horrible location. Similar in concept to a “skywalk” built at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. How much environmental degradation will happen for the “benefit” of this little project. The AZ project allegedly benefits the native American tribe that “owns” the land in the area. Who benefits from this? Why was this a design competition in the first place? Or am I mis-reading the situation here?

    Either way, HORRIBLE CHOICE. This area of the Rockies is simply amazing. I have spent several vacations there (You MUST see it in Summer and Winter!!!) and the positive impact to my soul is immeasurable. Cool project…needs to be placed somewhere else!!!

  3. srshea March 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    @brilang. I completely agree, this is nothing but an intrusion on nature that serves no real purpose. We should all learn from what a disaster Niagara Falls a has turned into when it comes to the commercialization of nature. Protect i, not exploit it.

  4. brilang March 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Absolutely horrifying.
    This is a second-rate facility being built in a second-rate landscape as a hedge against the day when the nearby Athabasca Glacier melts sufficiently that Brewster cannot run their snow-coach attraction on the glacier anymore. Oh, it’s also being built in an National Park which is dedicated to protecting the environment. This is an attraction that should be fought against, not lauded.

  5. stoneleaftile March 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Absolutely stunning!

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