The Canadian Rockies are renowned for their raw beauty. And their wild ecosystems. Visitors to the Jasper National Park can now connect with the rambling wilderness as the Sturgess Architecture-designed Glacier Skywalk is open to the public.
The Glacier Skywalk is a 1475-foot long (450-metre) interpretive walk carved and folded into the mountainous landscape of Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
Designed by Sturgess Architecture with Read Jones Christofferson Engineering, Golder Associates, SMP Engineering and PCL Construction, the Glacier Skywalk is part of an immersive experience which enables visitors to the Jasper National Park to learn about glaciology, geology and the ecosystem of the Columbia Icefield area.
The corten steel and glass structure cantilevers outward, overlooking the Sunwapta Valley and facing the Athabasca Glacier situated in an icefield straddling the Continental Divide where the North American watersheds diverge to the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic Oceans.
The walkway is based on the concept of cropping out from the landscape, creating an experience of a natural extension of the land. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to get out of their car, to experience this incredible landscape in a way that would provide a cerebral connection to our changing natural environment,” explains Jeremy Sturgess who heads Sturgess Architecture. “The design is founded in the idea of a mountainside outcropping, to exist as an organic extension of the landscape.”
Sturgess Architecture explains: “The complex landscape was the inspiration for the project’s design and materiality. The thrust-fault geological movement in the area has created a fractal landscape that informs the larger formal gesture of the architecture.”The angular forms, rusted hues and warm texture of Corten steel finish relate to the rocky outcroppings of the surrounding mountains, while the glazing mimics the glacial flow.”
All images were shot by and are courtesy of © Robert Lemermeyer.