March 11, 2019

St. Patrick’s Island Amenity Structures

The master plan of St. Patrick’s Island reversed decades of neglect and provides multiple ways for area residents to connect with nature. A carefully planned mix of programming balances restoration of the natural operations of the island and river with human activity. Picnic areas, play areas, and a multi-use plaza for festivals or markets are carefully set in the existing landscape, preserving the island’s iconic trees and areas of mature gallery forest. The dispersed attractions and support structures throughout the island’s 31 acres add environmentally- and family-friendly features and amenities such as:

  • The Lookout Pavilion: The gateway to the Park from the East, and a place to view the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Wood is a plentiful and renewable resource in the mountains of the Canadian West and the design is a reference to similar “pile ups” of wood as is typical on island shores. Guy Nordenson and Associates collaborated with us to develop a vision for the pavilion structure and then developed the reciprocal structure which comprises the roof of the pavilion. Areciprocal frame is a class of self-supporting structure which requires no center support to create roofs, bridges or similar structures. The grid of the overlap points to the winter and summer solstice in Calgary; the Lookout not only focuses on the water, but the celestial events which define the site experience.
  • Maintenance and Washroom Building: Reflects the site location on an island in the flood plain. Sited on the highest ground on the island, its design suggests it was shaped by water, positioned in the direction of the flow. I also subtly modulates the pathway, providing a gathering place in is fold, as well as a place orient and learn about the site from embedded signage. The cladding of the building is made from salvaged decking of the original St. Patrick’s Island pedestrian bridge that was demolished as the new bridge was constructed.
  • Confluence Plaza: a gathering place with shade, a sun deck, seating areas and a small amphitheater for summer events
  • Bloom: a permanent, nearly seven-story assemblage of street lights by Canadian artist Michel de Broin that provides a meeting point and nighttime illumination
  • The Rise: a 30-foot hill created from excavated soil is popular for festivals, performances, and movie screenings during warm weather and for sledding in the winter.
  • The Playmound: a play area with innovative and child-friendly playground equipment
  • The Picnic Grove: an accessible family-oriented spot and natural meeting place


To find out more about St Patrick’s Island, click HERE.


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