Lead Firm: the marc boutin architectural collaborative inc.
Completion: July 2019
The Fourth Street SW Underpass is a key corridor for pedestrian and vehicle movement between the Beltline and downtown communities in Calgary, AB. The physical state of disrepair of the underpass—limited accessibility, poor lighting levels, and overall deterioration of materials—required immediate attention. In response, the Fourth Street SW Underpass Enhancement Project is founded on the notion of reclaiming this ‘space of removal’ as a ‘space for conversation’. The introduction of animated light and colour, responding to the flow of people through the space, ensures the underpass experience becomes evocative, varied, and timeless.
“Calgary has evolved with most inner-city apartments to one side of the CPR tracks and downtown on the other. The result: an unpleasant and somewhat threatening walk to work (and home) though pedestrian underpasses. The City’s current planning strategy is to increase the appeal of inner-city living and vibrancy of downtown. To that end it has already improved several underpasses, with the 4th Street project being the most recent and perhaps exciting example.”
"The understated design has the potential to turn a negative pedestrian experience into something positive. The use of dynamic lighting to reflect the movement of pedestrians is a highlight of the design. The lighting is as much an art feature as a security and amenity enhancement."
"Innovative in its approach and use of technology, this small project successfully remediates a challenging and common urban design problem. With its careful insertion into—and modulation of—it's physical setting, this project distinguishes itself from the technological one-liners that increasingly populate our urban public spaces. The communication is succinct, clear and effective, with just enough intellectual rationalization. One rare instance where discourse is translated convincingly into tangible design strategies and experience."