City of Calgary officials have announced that construction of the "Peace Bridge," a signature-design by world-renowned architect, engineer and artist, Santiago Calatrava will proceed. The City has accepted a revised offer by Graham Infrastructure, a JV, a Calgary-based construction firm, which is within the 18 million dollar project budget.
Calatrava worked closely with the City of Calgary and Graham Infrastructure throughout the value engineering exercise in order to preserve the integrity of the original Calatrava design. Along with minor detail adjustments to the lighting fixtures and glass mounting that are primarily technical and inconspicuous to the public; the main difference will be in the bridge's wearing surface. The granite and asphalt paving will be replaced with a high-quality concrete deck.
"Although slight modifications have been made to the design, my overall vision for the Peace Bridge remains unaltered," said Santiago Calatrava. "It has always been my intention to provide the city of Calgary with a structure of beauty that pays homage to its people, both functionally and aesthetically. I am confident that in its revised state, the 'Peace Bridge' maintains and reflects this vision."
To Calatrava, a bridge is a symbolic gesture linked to the needs of the people who use it. When he was initially asked to design a pedestrian bridge over the Bow River in 2008, Calatrava turned to Calgary's citizens, rugged landscape and diverse seasonal weather for inspiration. In order to provide pedestrians with a welcoming structure, the architect created an enclosed bridge that offers protection from the wind, snow and other extreme elements of Calgary weather.
"The Peace Bridge is a very challenging bridge design and one that I am very proud of," said Calatrava. "It is an open invitation to the citizens of Calgary for generations to come."
With its twisting, enclosed steel frame, the "Peace Bridge" is both structurally and aesthetically unique from amongst Calatrava's bridge designs and offers a departure from the soaring vertical icons for which he is best known. Calatrava opted for a low single-span bridge in compliance with the city's environmental regulations. In keeping with the natural beauty of the Bow River and to celebrate Calgary's changing seasons, Calatrava painted the "Peace Bridge" a vibrant shade of red which contrasts with the city's white winters.
The highly anticipated Peace Bridge is expected to be in place by Fall of 2010.