The design of St. Patrick’s Bridge is a response to the site, the condition of the Bow River and the two paths taken by the pedestrian and the bicyclist.
The Bow River is one of North America’s premier trout fly-fishing rivers. As a fly-fishing line is cast, the path it travels inspired the design of the bridge’s supporting arches. Further geometric exploration refined the idea so that it became a whip-stitch and then a series of parabolas.
The bridge has two separate and linked deck systems. One is for the pedestrian, following a graceful curve; and one for the cyclist, reflecting the speed and trajectory of the path it travels, climbing to a higher grade above the pedestrian path and creating shelter beneath it. Both decks follow a gentle ‘S’ curve, responding to the location and size of the two river channels. The paths are counterbalanced by the opposing ribbon arches that support them. The arches and paths converge on St. Patrick’s Island.
The plan of the bridge is angled from the southwest to northeast to best connect from the south bank – the point between Fort Calgary and the Rivers District, touching down on St. Patrick’s Island and landing on the north bank close to the LRT station and its pedestrian bridge over Memorial Drive.