The Glacier Skywalk is envisioned as an extension of the fractal landscape that defines the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park. Located along this dramatic escarpment, the project weaves a continuous thread of experience through united geometric and material forms. This sinuous experience defines the Discovery Walk not only as a singular destination, but as a catalyst and gateway that empowers guests to experience the untouched environment.
The theme of rugged architecture is evident throughout the journey of discovery, providing contrast between the subtle gesture and monumental idea that defines the Glacier Skywalk experience. The structures along the Discovery Trail are understated in their design and appear as ‘landscape’ objects, deferring instead to the beauty and grandeur of their natural surroundings. In contrast, the Discovery Vista projects from the face of the mountainside to allow visitors to experience the grandeur and scale of the glacier below. It is at this point the visitors are able to grasp the scale of the landscape the visceral nature of the surrounding ecology, glaciology, history and geology that defines this historic site.
The complex landscape was the inspiration for the project’s design and materiality. The thrust-fault geological movement in the area has created a fractal landscape that informs the larger formal gesture of the architecture. The angular forms, rusted hues and warm texture of Corten steel finish relate to the rocky outcroppings of the surrounding mountains, while the glazing mimics the glacial flow. This project has won many awards, including the Architizer A+ Award and the World Architecture Festival Award.
*In association with Read Jones Christoffersen Structural Engineers and PCL Construction