What’s new

The Design Development Report, which outlines the Design Team’s progress throughout the Design Development phase of the project, is now available for viewing under the Document Library section of this webpage.


The City of Calgary has launched the planning, design and public art services for the 4th Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement Project. As part of the redesign, input was sought from community and corporate stakeholders to help set an overall vision for the space.

Seven design mandates

A. Create a space of discovery.

B. Establish a unique identity.

C. Approach the pedestrian experience from multiple scales.

D. Respond to the existing physical form of the site.

E. Design for a winter city.

F. Employ durable materials and strategies.

G. Improve connections.

Seven design mandates for the 4th Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement project.

Seven design mandates in a graphical display.

Engagement activities

In May, the stakeholder group and the public provided feedback on the three designs. Input from stakeholders during the workshop and at the public feedback events indicated strong support for Design 2 (click on the 'Designs' tab to view). Participant input indicated that most participants felt Design 2 best addressed the seven design mandates. Based on the feedback provided the design team has drawn most heavily on Design 2, while incorporating the strengths and opportunities identified in designs 1 and 3, to develop a final concept.

March 20, 2015 - Vision sessions

Visionary imagination sessions with special interest groups, internal City departments and external stakeholder group. Seven design mandates most important for improving the space were developed. From these design mandates, three design concepts were created.

What We Heard Report Part 1

May 8, 2015 - Design workshop

Design workshop with special interest groups, internal City departments and external stakeholder group to provide input on three design concepts.

Stakeholder Feedback on Designs #1

What We Heard Report Part 2

May 12 to June 2, 2015 - Online public feedback

Online feedback sought from public on three design concepts.

Online Survey Feedback

May 12 and May 31, 2015 - Public engagement events

Two public engagement events: Stephen Avenue (May 12) and Lilac Festival (May 31)

Public Engagement Events Feedback

September 18, 2015 - Fourth design concept feedback

The fourth design concept that emerged from the three previous designs presented for feedback to the internal/high impact stakeholder group. Reported back on how feedback gathered so far has informed fourth design concept. Design team collected final feedback and currently refining a final concept.

Stakeholder Feedback on Designs #2 (fourth design concept)

Schematic Design Report – summary of design and planning process to date

Winter 2016 - Final design model

Final design model presented to the public. Informing how all feedback and input gathered has been incorporated into final design concept.

Week of May 16, 2016

Full-scale model of the proposed future design of the underpass temporary installed on the west side of the underpass, south of the Ninth Ave. bridge, during the week of May 16. Model presented to stakeholder group for testing purposes and to refine technical requirements for the piece.

Design 1

Design 1 - Experiential light field

In Design 1, both pedestrians and vehicles connect to the Alberta sky, bridging sky and earth. The concept is a hovering, semi-transparent field of objects that engage the open area and the shifting lightscapes of the Calgary sky. This field consists of light-reflecting and refracting elements that are strategically located to create shifting light and shadow. The animation is activated by people moving throughout the space, the journey of the sun during daylight and artificial light during the night. The intensity of the reflecting elements changes depending on time of day.

Design 2

Design 2 - Urban traverse

Design 2 is meant to portray an oasis within the urban fabric. The colour blue is massive in scale and envelopes visitors passing through it. The result is a kind of stage where people become the actors, newly aware of themselves and others against this highly saturated backdrop. At night visitors are escorted by light trailing slightly behind them as they move through the space. In cases of couples or groups, the lights become more intense. When people approach one another from opposite directions, the light paths cross. Softer, faded lights represent those who have passed by at an earlier time. These ‘light memories’ trace the underpass’s multiple lives throughout the day.

Design 3

Design 3 - Condenser

Design 3 seeks to connect the underpass with the broader urban fabric. A number of reflective objects capture and project light and sound from the two overpasses below to the underpasses. These reflective fields wrap the edges of both Ninth Avenue and the CPR overpasses. As you approach the bridge, attention is focused on the sky and the building above. Moving beneath the bridge, glimpses of the activity on the overpasses above are projected below.

Final Concept

Final concept

The final concept is connective, pedestrian-centred and multi-sensory while ensuring the underpass remains durable and serviceable. The concept seeks to reclaim the underpass as a place for connection, interaction and conversation. This final design, which includes three ideas for digitally interacting with the space, was presented to the stakeholder group in September for feedback. This feedback will be integrated into a finalized interactive strategy within the next phase of design development. In addition, keep a look out for a full-scale physical model of this scheme to be installed on site early in the new year.

Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2016.