The Bow

Calgary, Alberta

Design Architect: Foster + Partners
Client: Encana Corporation
Size: 2,000,000 sq.ft. (185,800 sq.m.)

At 58 storeys, The Bow is the one of Canada's largest Class AAA office towers outside of Toronto. The public base of the tower is filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes, and extends into a generous landscaped plaza at the heart of which is a landmark sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The building is comprised of 53 floors of office space, punctuated by three 6 storey sky gardens at levels 24, 42, and 54. Shaped by an analysis of the climate, by turning the convex façade into the prevailing wind, the structural loading is minimized thus reducing the amount of steel required for the inherently efficient diagrid system. The intersecting triangular sections of the south atrium wall form the largest diagrid of architecturally exposed structural steel in the world.

Each triangulated section of the structure spans 6 storeys, helping to visually break down the scale of the building. Where the building curves inwards, the glazed façade is pulled forward to create a series of atria that run the full height of the tower. These spaces act as climatic buffer zones, insulating the building and helping to significantly reduce energy consumption. The solar heat collected in the atrium is redistributed throughout the year by means of extracting during the winter, and heat exchange during the summer. Each floor plate has been sized to accommodate a whole business unit, promoting collaboration across the companies and bringing a social dimension to the office spaces. The Bow establishes lateral connections with the surrounding buildings, connecting at two points to Calgary’s +15 Skyway network.


  • Calgary Mayor's Urban Design Award, 2013
  • Emporis Skyscraper Award - 4th Place, 2012
  • Glass Magazine Awards - Most Innovative Energy Efficient Glass Project (Commercial, Retail, Fabrications), 2012
  • Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) - Alberta Steel Design Awards of Excellence Engineering Award, 2011