St. Patrick’s Island

Calgary, AB | 2015 | 30 acres

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St. Patrick’s Island on the Bow River near Downtown Calgary had been in decline for many years. Working with extensive community input, a master plan was created to restore the island as a premier example of biophilic design. The design team was challenged to consider not just human users, but bats, owls, and mosquitoes—any living thing that might call the island home. The result is a park that uses darkness as a shield, a protective charm against human intrusion. There are a higher than usual number of fixtures within the park, but the fixtures are a lower wattage so that light levels are lower and more even. In addition, fixtures were carefully shielded and sited to blend in with the forest. The design balanced the needs of park users by creating enjoyable nighttime destinations and evenly lit paths, which can be turned off when not in use to protect habitat.


Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Civitas, landscape architects
W Architecture and Landscape
IBI Group
Matrix Solutions

2017 Merit Award: American Society of Landscape Architects, New York Chapter
2016 Honorable Mention, Innovation by Design Award: Spaces, Places, Cities
2014 Urban Design Merit Award: American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter

Photography: Courtesy of Colin Way