What does one of the largest independently owned oil and gas companies do to turn over a more sustainable leaf? Well, in this case, EnCana hired green-tech architecture firm du jour Foster + Partners to design their new, environmentally sustainable headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Dubbed The Bow, the new tower’s namesake comes from its overall shape, as well as the breathtaking views it offers inhabitants of the Bow River. As expected from a Foster + Partnersdesign, the form of this sustainable skyscraper follows some very green function.

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The first steel tower to be built in Calgary, The Bow’s use of this core structural material reduces overall material use by 30%. Additional green features (often found in Foster + Partners’ designs) include a system of interior green spaces, and three sky gardens. These integrated green spaces will separate the commercial, residential, and retail spaces planned for occupancy following the building’s completion in 2010. The most pronounced green feature of the design is the building’s bow shaped tower which contains a south-facing atrium. Running the entire height of the façade, this passive solar space will absorb the sun’s energy to warm the tower in cold Calgary winters.

The mixed-use scheme of The Bow tower offers up a model of sustainable urban living without even leaving the premise. Even so, we suggest residents and visitors step outside in one of the cleanest cities in the world, and its outlying mountain areas known as a great ecotourist destination. + EnCana + Foster + Partners