Peace Bridge / Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava is known for his elegant bridges that combine structure with a sculpture-esque touch.  Yet, could his iconic style be changing?  His latest design for Calgary, is a red and white tubular structure, an aesthetic quite unlike of his earlier works.  The new footbridge, slated for completion in 2010, will span the Bow River and aid approximately 5,000 people a day commuting in and out of the city on foot or on bike.

More about the bridge after the break.


The bright red bridge will span 130 meters and its helix design lacks the soaring masts, steel cables and asymmetrical design typical of a Calatrava project.  Since the bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists, separate paths will be incorporated so each can enjoy his journey over the bridge comfortably.  The bridge will also be covered in glass allowing Canadians to use the bridge throughout the year.

The bridge’s tubular form is a successful design solution as it could not have piers in the riverbed or vertical elements. “Seemingly simplistic at first glance, the Peace Bridge is a highly technical bridge,” Calatrava stated.


As seen on World Architecture News.




Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Peace Bridge / Santiago Calatrava" 13 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • arch critic

    i dont see bird wings….progress.

    • Pierre

      It’s funny cuz it’s true!

    • LucasAbreu

      so true!

    • killuation

      cant agree more! lol

  • HamlëT

    hahahahaha!! i agree with
    no more birdwings..even the color looks great…

    good to se the new progress on calatrava!

  • James

    Looks like a Chinese finger trap.

  • LeRone

    i love this…

  • holz
    • mime

      i dont think so, maybe inspired by it. caltrava’s execution is much more graceful in terms of its pattern, the patterns scale, and finally some god dam color from santiago

    • Paláu

      not even close… this is a good bridge not the best but quite good

    • MARKO

      definitly copycat but with nice try to hide…

  • john

    Looks way too easy. The only interesting image is the perspective, but if you think about it, it’s so cliche.

  • Cynic

    Would have been nice with some bird wings… otherwise boring.

  • Juni

    Calatrava met his psychologist. You can see He’s getting better now. Nice bridge, donno if I’d like to see it everyday in the city I live.

  • Lone

    This bridge is plainly not original enough for my acute sense of exciting originality or worth my ever expanding portfolio of exciting world-class original projects…
    - Learn to hold you tongue before leaving comments that aren’t worth the energy spent writing them.

    Why attempt to point out a copycat for such a common natural form? The example given was not the first to use a knit / helix structure (and that only a partial) and the article topic wont be the last.

    The form accomplishes a lot; Its attractive and stands out from any point of view, it fills structural needs, provides roofing that doesn’t disconnect you from its environment, and allows for pleasant open air access as you travel across it. It will serve as a nice accent to a lot of peoples foot travels.

  • panamArq

    structurally it is incredibly beautiful! look at the span without any high structure. It would be nice if it was all one color, he can not totally get away from white.

  • md

    RED is Calgary’s colour (color) – see Stampeder’s Football, Flames Hockey, University of Calgary, and the Canadian Flag – so it seems appropriate – the covered brige glazing is nice too in a brutally cold climate…

    • DA

      well put md.

  • Gustav Z

    I agree with panamArq. Very beautiful structure, look at the birdsperspektive, it is soo very vigorous! No pillars and no strings, like a tense muscle.

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  • Jade Doel

    Well Santiago does take inspiration from nature such as the mentioned birds aswell as other things like the human body. When I first saw this bridge I thought it looked like the empty shell of a snake skin…. What do you guys think?
    Not that snake skins have much to do with Canada from what I’m aware of.

  • Filipe (colombia)


    Calatrava is white!


  • chris

    on the inside you can still see that endless symmetry that is trademark in his work. It looks ver much inspired by something in nature.

    • toti

      I agree. You can see the trademark of Calatravas work in the interiors. But still, the bridge it seems to me, that it have a palpable progress in the whole element. Dunno know if is the best design of this architect however

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  • majchers

    Cool design in itself but very controversial here in Calgary. Especially considering its surroundings (never mind the cost!). Just does not quite fit in this particular location. Could be build anywhere – and that’s the issue I guess…

    • Ka N

      Could anybody please explain how this bridge is related to “peace” ?

  • StructureHub Blog

    In light of its controversy (about the budget, design, and approval process), we might want to hold off a bit on reviewing the bridge (of course, if it is built as currently rendered, it should be a.o.k.)!

  • hacksawjim

    nice design… $26 million worth? i dunno

  • Shelley MacMillan

    I think the design is wonderful, it meets practical requirements while incorporating Calgary’s colours (and Canada’s) Right up there with Calatrava’s Brookfield Place in Toronto – a soaring masterpiece that I get more attached to year after year. Same will happen with this bridge and the citizens of Calgary. Betcha.

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  • Elven

    I think the guy ran out of ideas…sorry Calatrava R.I.P

  • Twelve

    I think the guy ran out of ideas 2…sorry Calatrava R.I.P

  • Durban

    I agree, give me bird wings any day. Calatrava filled a niche market as the crazy organic guy who did stuff youve never seen before. His buildings were pin-ups for people who werent too grown up/jaded/sensible.
    But thats not the major problem i have with this design, the reason i dont like it is because it doesnt seem graceful, its just too straight and rigid.

  • salvadore

    i think that it looks good! for calatrava… anyway, what i dont understand is how is that bridge going to stay there cause without birds the structure looks impossible. i may be wrong cause im not really into engineering but i would like to know how is that possible.

    so please someone explain. im curious!

  • majchers

    Once again gentleman and gentle women – the design is fine, although not new as ‘holz’ above has noticed. The point is that this bridge is very foreign to this particular location in Calgary (you need to now the city) and it simply does not fit here.

  • Kris

    Calatrava is going downhill, and steep!

  • john

    CALATRAVA …..MORE BIRD WINGS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • me

    in the first perspective, i thought the top parts were solid, cause i don’t think i would like to fry under it….estetically like it a lot….nice to see some color