The Bow South Block Plaza

Matthew’s Development
Calgary, Alberta, Canada



The Bow South Block Plaza is a public plaza situated south of The Bow Tower in Calgary. The design concept is entirely open to the exterior environment, and consists of various elements relating to the functional requirements of the parkade below. The program is to provide a place of rest, public gathering, education, and shelter from the physical environment. There is an intention to use elements that are clearly ‘temporary’ or recyclable, as opposed to building a permanent installation.

Assembled primarily of wood, the plaza is made up of a large raised deck with numerous benches, along with an equal number of planters for vegetation consisting of trees and grasses. At the southeast corner, a large canopy shelters the primary entrance to elevators that access the underground parkade. Heritage interpretation panels detail the history of the site and the historic York Hotel, which will be reinstalled onsite as part of the future development.

Decorative patterning developed from the frieze of the historic York Hotel is recaptured as the motif for fencing, referencing the past location of the building as well as hinting at its future as part of the new development. Instead of a continuous repetitive pattern, the frieze is abstracted by enlarging the details to show the complexity of the pattern, drawing visitors around the fence as the pattern evolves. Benches were designed by Sturgess Architecture, and manufactured locally.