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Santiago Calatrava’s Long-Awaited Peace Bridge to be Inaugurated in Calgary

by , 03/22/12
filed under: Architecture

Santiago Calatrava, Calgary, Canada, Peace Bridge, Peace Park, candy cane-colored bridge, helix design, green design, sustainable design, low impact design, eco-design, bridge

Santiago Calatrava fans and locals who have been dying to see Calgary’s Peace Bridge come to life over the Bow River will be happy to know that the candy cane-colored helix structure’s inauguration will finally take place on Saturday, March 24th. Originally slated for completion in the Fall of 2010, the $24.5 million dollar project has been controversial since residents complained about the high expense. But now that it is complete, at least 1,500 cyclists and pedestrians are expected to use the magnificent, low-impact tubular bridge every day!



Santiago Calatrava, Calgary, Canada, Peace Bridge, Peace Park, candy cane-colored bridge, helix design, green design, sustainable design, low impact design, eco-design, bridge

Because of various geometrical design constraints, Calatrava opted to build a low single-span bridge, which only has a 7 meter envelope because of a no fly zone overhead and the river’s high ice and water levels below. Most exciting for us, this tubular steel structure has zero supporting piers so that aside from the original construction, its long term environmental impact is minimal.

The Peace Bridge has separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians. It is enclosed, to protect its users from incredibly harsh winters, but it also also permeable and breathable. This signature red and white design – a favorite for world-renowned Calatrava who claims it was challenging but fulfilling to work on this awe-inspiring project – will allow locals world-class mobility at any time of year. If you are around and feel like celebrating its inauguration, there will be a family-oriented celebration on the south end at Peace Park.

+ Santiago Calatrava

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1 Comment

  1. WBrooke March 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I think the bridge looks great and I am glad that it is finally opening. I live in Calgary and it is good to have signature pieces of architecture and infrastructure (another example is Norman Foster’s Bow Building).

    However I can totally understand the controversy generated by this bridge:
    1. This bridge is super expensive compared to simpler designs by other design firms that could achieve the same crossing. As a celebrated bridge designer, Calatrava did not have to go through a competitive bid system that is normal for other public infrastructure projects.
    2. The bridge was delivered in several components to be assembled on site, but the welding done in Spain did not pass Canadian safety inspections. Every seam had to be disassembled and re-welded which set the whole project back by a full year and massively increased costs.
    3. There are already two pedestrian bridges close by. The Louise Bridge is for vehicle traffic, but it has pedestrian paths on each side, and the C-Train bridge has a dedicated pedestrian bridge suspended underneath. With the Calatrava bridge, there are now three pedestrian crossings of the river within 340 meters of each other. If you include the Prince’s Island pedestrian bridge there are now four crossings within 1.3 km.

    Anyways, after all the controversy, I’m glad we will finally get to use it.

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