The main design impetus for Glide was to achieve a certain level of design purity and visual simplicity. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with a non-stop barrage of the overstated, overdone, over exalted, and hyperbole, it was our mission to be as simple stated as possible while yet creating a dynamic environmental experience. It was not our goal to create a geometric icon, but rather to simply make a specific object for Calgary that also challenges the notion of what a bridge ought to be as a way of linking two parts of the city. In other words, the goal of Glide is to create links from the north and south banks, the Bow River and St. Patrick’s Island, using the notion of a public environment as the geometric generator for the bridge.
The basic shape and form of the bridge is derived from an interpretation of the flow of water and wind around a fixed object. The form generated from these studies create two sort of symmetrical undulations that slope down from the main spine of the bridge to gently land on St. Patrick’s Island. These undulations actually create a series of steps that resemble the ideas of simple ‘reverse’ amphitheatres. The goal is not to create performance spaces, although this could be a terrific byproduct, but rather intended to create comfortable public spaces where the bridge and the island could be experienced together.
The structure is a combination of steel and concrete, a hybrid composite system to achieve lightness, strength, and slimness. From a plan standpoint, Glide has width but from an elevation standpoint it is incredibly slender, and it is this dichotomy that interested us. The connections at the north and south banks of the Bow River are designed to be seamless to the existing walk and bike paths. Similar notions of water and wind flow were utilized for the geometric connections to the existing banks.