Winners of 2010 Prairie Design Awards

Award of Merit

Category: Recent Work

Calgary Zoo North Gate
Calgary, Alberta

Architect: Cohos Evamy Integratedesign

Owner/Client: Calgary Zoological Society

Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christoffersen

Mechanical Engineer: Wiebe Forest Engineering

Electrical Engineer: Stebnicki, Robertson & Associates

Contractor: Stuart Olson

The Project

The Calgary Zoo is one of Calgary’s premier public and tourist facilities and a major urban destination. The Calgary Zoo’s North Gate is its largest and most popular entryway. The Zoo lacked a “ front door” at its primary entrance; a simple tunnel entrance and undefined plaza were the first spaces a visitor encountered. In its broadest urban gesture, the new North Gate Pavilion relocates and creates the Zoo’s “front door” to the north end of the tunnel extending the Zoo experience to encompass a visitor’s first point of contact. The redevelopment of the public entry plaza and integral landscaping were critical to the creation of a sense of place. The redesigned offers visitor amenities, ticketing, and interpretive experiences to both welcome visitors and allow them to orient themselves.

The concepts developed for The North Gate Pavilion and Plaza were intentionally iconographic in their attitude to site, form and materials. The design solutions drew their inspiration from the southern Alberta landscape. Building forms were tectonic and characterized by dramatic folded planes and transparent skins; direct references to the local geography. Robust natural materials, such as board-form concrete and natural stone were contrasted with lightweight steel structures and glass. Framed views were used to enhance one’s experience and understanding of site and landscape.

During the day, the North Gate is outward looking addressing all of those who have come experience the ZOO. At night, the North Gate acts as “ beacon” on the landscape, further extending and announcing the Zoo’s place in the City.


Click image(s) to zoom.