Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Amazing Bow Tower, Giant Head, Giant Steel Trees, and Cool Calgary Architecture Part 2

Continued from Peace Bridge...

After reaching Stephen Avenue Mall, we headed east towards city hall.  Stephen Avenue is a large outdoor pedestrian street that is closed to traffic.  There are cafes and sidewalk patios down its length and it is a nice place to walk.  Plenty of people hang out there and it is full of historic buildings, including an old Hudson Bay Department Store.  Lots of buildings made of sandstone.  This street is a big change from an empty concrete wasteland in the 1970s and 1980s when I was a kid.
Stephen Avenue looking east.
Some historic buildings including the bay and a bank.  You can see the Bow towering up behind the bank.

The first thing we saw were a grove of giant, 25 metre high steel trees (kind of fan-like) that are situated between TD Square and Banker's Hall.  Both of these are very nice buildings too with three story malls in both places.  The grove of metal trees is pretty cool and you can see all types of photo angles.  They are something to see and look very futuristic.  I don't live in Calgary anymore, but it is nice seeing all these building I used to work in as I was a contractor for many companies.
Steel Trees on Stephen Avenue.
Steel Trees again and another walkway connecting The Core to Bankers Hall.
After the trees we went into the rebuilt TD Square and Eaton Centre which are now called The Core.  Some high-end department stores like Holt Renfrew anchor the Core and there are plenty of places to shop here. This is a very pretty mall that is two city blocks long and spans over several streets.  The longest glass roof in Canada is here in this building and it is a beauty.  The food courts on the top floor and the rebuilt Devonian Gardens get plenty of sunlight here.  It is a great place to go in the winter to get away from the cold.  The large indoor garden here is popular with for everyone to visit and there is a small playground for the children. By this time we were thirsty and we grabbed some nice Jugo Juice and rest in the garden.
The massive glass roof at The Core
The Core Mall.  Very modern and very neat visuals.
Devonian Garden Park.  Look out, they have topiaries!
After the mall, we finally headed down to Centre Street where the Calgary Tower and The Bow are.
This is a great life size bronze of two businessmen talking.
I had watched The Bow being built for five years.  Today I got to go up to it and inside to the +15 level where we walked through a number of different buildings on our way out of downtown.  The Bow is a 58 story high office tower in Calgary, Alberta that was completed in late 2012.  It is the headquarters for EnCana Corporation and Cenovus Energy.  Located in downtown Calgary it is the tallest office building  in the city at 236 metres (774 feet) and the tallest in Canada outside of Toronto.
This is a very cool looking building with some awesome curves, and sky gardens on three floors based on the information I saw.  I'm not sure the sky gardens are open to the public, but they look like really nice places with fantastic views out to the mountains and over the city.  Lucky employees in this building.  The outer wall of the building looked like some kind of curtain wall and it is just tremendous to look at.  Very high tech.  The six story underground parkade is a bit of feat too.  The interior of the building wasn't quite finished when we went as the second floor shops and food court area were not open yet.
Backlit Calgary Tower - worst shot of the trip.
The Bow
The Bow up close.
Still some of the neatest things about this building are the exterior view of it and the fantastic sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.  I love Roppongi Hills in Japan with the giant spider, but this is a pretty nice too.  Not to the same massive scale, but pretty darn big!  The sculpture is of a giant wire (make it cable as it is so big) and looks like a 3D grid model of a human head titled "Wonderland."  You can get some neat pictures around the head and you can go inside it too!
Giant Head Sculpture / Model!
Giant Head
The cool look up the nostrils and get a neat building view shot.
That pretty much concludes a brief architectural tour of Calgary's downtown and you can tell it is unique and pretty futuristic.  Hope you enjoyed it.  I love the modern architecture of Tokyo and both cities in my home province have some pretty awesome buildings too!  We didn't even get down to Olympic Plaze or City Hall either.

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