Standing 236 metres (or 58 storeys) tall, The BOW® makes an impressive mark on Calgary’s skyline. It was designed by Foster + Partners, the same studio that created the Great Court at the British Museum, and the Smithsonian Institute Courtyard. Primarily an office space, The BOW® is also home to two floors of shops and restaurants, as well as the picture-perfect Wonderland sculpture by Jaume Plensa at its base.
Construction of the tower started in 2007. The following year, concrete was continuously poured over 36 hours to build the largest foundation in Canada, a feat that required between 75 and 95 concrete trucks working simultaneously. The tower was completed in 2013, using 39,000 tonnes of steel, 800,000 structural bolts, 900,000 square feet of glass, and employing 1,200 construction workers. Aside from winning multiple awards, The BOW® has also earned its place as a unique Calgary landmark.
The BOW® is easily recognizable by its distinctive, bow-shaped curves. These aren’t just for looks — they help to reduce wind resistance, maximize heat absorption in winter, and reflect excess heat in summer. Inside the tower is another unique climate-control feature: the atria. The atria are large, open areas with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of green plants and natural light, which help to create ‘climatic buffer zones.’ Visitors can enjoy their lunch with a view or use one of the meeting rooms in this unconventional space.
Calgary Philharmonic Assistant Concertmaster Donovan Seidle recently discovered an additional benefit of the skyscraper’s atria: the acoustics. Violin in hand, Seidle visited the Skygarden atrium on the 54th floor, where he was able to admire the impressive view before recording a solo performance for our City Spaces: The BOW® concert. The Calgary Tower, the city’s downtown, and the Rocky Mountains all make an appearance behind Seidle as he performs.
“It was just amazing to play here,” says Seidle. “The BOW® Tower is such an icon of the Calgary skyline. There’s a terrific view, and a wonderful acoustic up here.”
City Spaces: The BOW® premieres online on Saturday 20 March 2021 at calgaryphil.com.
By Dagny MacGregor