Downtown West Community Association
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Coming Soon - Poetic Park Plaza - 1001 4th Avenue SW

Background: Parks have long been recognized as major contributors to the physical and aesthetic quality of urban neighbourhoods in the Centre City.  Poetic Park Plaza is intended to encourage a diversity of opportunities for social interaction and activities, to provide relief and relaxation, to expand and reinforce the public realm and to contribute to the liveability and general amenity of the Centre City.  This new open space provides opportunities to offer delight, surprise, rest, enlightenment and amusement for a wide variety of users over the course of the day, week and year.  Activities accommodated by the plaza such as socializing, resting, eating, physical activity, performances and exhibitions add to the quality of Centre City living and working.   The project’s process followed the City of Calgary’s framework for citizen engagement entitled Engage.  The resulting design is a reflection of input received by the public and is supported by the public.  The Poetic Park Plaza was identified as a Catalytic Park / Open Space in the Centre City Parks and Public Realm Enhancement Plan which was approved by Council for support and funding in 2010.

Design:

The design of the Plaza has evolved over the past few years originating as an initiative from Parks and the Ward 8 Alderman’s office.  An extensive site analysis in combination with input from adjacent landowners gave rise to the original design of the Plaza.  The form is a reflection of the surrounding regional context of Alberta.    The space is thoughtfully arranged to provide a variety of seating opportunities, environmentally sensitive design, optimized sun angles, and protection from the west wind.  Good street-to-plaza visibility announces the plaza’s attractions.  It signifies that it is a public space and permits users to watch street activity and it makes the space safer.  The Plaza is oriented toward the Bow river corridor where it is linked to the greater adjacent park system.     Natural elements to reflect seasonal change, such as trees, shrubs, and flowers are incorporated throughout to visually soften the urban environment.  The Plaza is well lit and accessible.

The Plaza services a wide variety of users including the Catholic School Board and other local businesses and residents in an area currently deficient in public open space.  The neighbouring Monastery will be encouraged to extend their internal activities into the plaza to help give life to the space year round.  Tai chi, vegetarian food events, and outdoor classrooms are a few of the programmed events to take place.  Extensive internal and external stakeholder sessions were held in the fall of 2010 to elicit feedback on the conceptual design.

The Poetic Park Plaza name is a placeholder as the Plaza will go through the required park naming committee process prior to completion. While ‘Poetic’ is not literal and refers to the park possessing the qualities or charm of poetry, the design calls for poetic inscriptions in the concrete seat walls.  This subtle gesture adds another level of intellectual pleasure to the visitor’s experience.

Construction will commence fall 2011 with an anticipated completion June 2012.

ParksGary YoungComment