The Bow (skyscraper)

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The Bow
The Bow in Calgary.jpg
August 2012
General information
Status Complete
Type Office
Location 500 Centre Street SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 51°02′52″N 114°03′44″W / 51.04778°N 114.06222°W / 51.04778; -114.06222Coordinates: 51°02′52″N 114°03′44″W / 51.04778°N 114.06222°W / 51.04778; -114.06222
Construction started June 13, 2007
Completed 2012
Cost $1.4 billion CAD
Owner H&R Reit[1]
Roof 236 m (774 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 58 floors
53 office floors
2 retail floors
4 mechanical floors
3 sky gardens
Design and construction
Architect Foster + Partners, Zeidler Partnership Architects
Developer Matthews Southwest
Structural engineer Halcrow Yolles
Main contractor Ledcor Group of Companies

The Bow is a 158,000-square-metre (1.7 million sq ft) office building for the headquarters of Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy, in downtown Calgary, Alberta. The building is currently the tallest office tower in Calgary, and tallest in Canada outside Toronto.[2] The Bow is also considered the start of redevelopment in Calgary's Downtown East Village.[3] It was completed in 2012 and was ranked among the top 10 architectural projects of 2012 according to Azure Magazine.[4]


Location of The Bow before construction; the York Hotel was to be incorporated in the building complex

Early project plans[edit]

The proposed highrise was announced in 2006 by Encana Corporation, North America's second largest natural gas producer. Early designs suggested that the project would consist of a complex of towers (perhaps two or more) over two blocks. The tallest of these towers could be 60 stories tall, which would make it taller than the current tallest tower in Western Canada, the Suncor Energy Centre (also in Calgary). Conflicting reports suggested that it would be one single tower around 70 stories tall and possibly over 1,000 feet (300 m), making it the tallest building in Canada. Other sources suggested a two tower complex spanning the entire surface of two blocks, with a second tower of 40 to 50 storeys connected at sixth storey level over 6th Avenue.[5] Official statements declare that the tower will be 58 stories, or 247 metres (810 ft) tall.

The management company in charge of the project is Texas-based Matthews Southwest, with architectural services being furnished by UK-based Foster + Partners & Zeidler Partnership Architects of Calgary.[6]

Announcement of the Bow[edit]

The project filed for development permit application is called The Bow, for its crescent shape and the view of the Bow River.[7][8] On October 12, 2006, Foster + Partners revealed the first designs for the new tower.[9]

The project will eventually house two separate companies both equally occupying the space. Encana Natural Gas with over 3,000 Calgary-based employees and Cenovus Energy's more than 3,600 Calgary based staff. Both companies are presently located at multiple sites throughout the downtown core. With an estimated 158,000-square-metre total office space, the complex is expected to be the city's largest. Construction costs are estimated to reach $1.4 billion. Construction started in June 2007, and is expected to be completed by 2012.[10] The tower was lowered down to 236 m due to shadowing concerns. When the tower is completed it will become the 149th tallest building in the world.

On February 9, 2007, EnCana sold The Bow office project assets to H&R Real Estate Investment Trust for $70 million,[11] while signing a 25-year tenant lease agreement that would start after the project's completion in 2011.

In late June 2007, the company announced that the Portrait Gallery of Canada would not be moving from Ottawa into the Bow.[12]


Groundbreaking took place on June 13, 2007, with work starting on both sides of 6th Avenue S between Centre Street and 1st Street E.[13] Sixth Avenue is being excavated, after closure of the block (August 21, 2007)[14] and the six level underground parkade will be constructed on a two block area, on both north and south side of 6th Avenue.

A neighbouring historic building - The York Hotel, that was built from 1929 through 1930 using the Edwardian Commercial Architectural style was demolished to make room for the new building. Because of the historical significance of the York Hotel it was important to save as much as reasonable to incorporate into the new building "The Bow". Between 70 to 80 per cent of the bricks have been saved and will be used to reconstruct two of the hotel’s exterior walls. The brown brick originally supplied by Clayburn Brick in Abbotsford and the cast-in-concrete friezes have been removed, numbered and graphed to show the original location the brick and friezes will be put on the new building in the original locations. The remainder of the building was demolished ahead of schedule by Calgary based demolition and environmental contractor Hazco. A large crane was used to lift an excavator on to the roof of the York and it was used to demolish the building floor by floor.

The concrete foundation was continuously poured over 36 hours on May 11 and 12, 2008, being the largest of its kind in Canada, and third largest in the world after the Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles and the Sama Tower (Al Durrah Tower) in Dubai.[15] Some 14,000 cubic metres (18,000 cu yd) of concrete filled the 3,000-square-metre (30,000 sq ft) foundation.

Erection of the above ground steel superstructure began in October 2008 with the installation of the first of two Favelle Favco heavy lift tower cranes.

Construction was briefly halted in December 2008 due to a $400 million shortage of financing needed to finish the job.[16] The project continued to move forward, despite the unresolved financing issues.[17] In April 2009, a secondary tower in the project, the 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) building planned for a block south of the main tower, was put on hold for at least two years. The main tower, however, was set to continue, having secured the remaining $475 million required for completion of the structure.[18]

On July 8, 2010, the Bow surpassed Suncor Energy Centre as Calgary's highest building.[19] The 215 metres (705 ft) tall Suncor Energy Centre was the highest building in Calgary since 1984. The addition of a steel girder, part of floors 55 to 57, raised the Bow tower to 218 metres (715 ft).

Panorama of construction in May 2011, from Tom Campbell's Hill in Bridgeland

Public art[edit]

The Bow from the north

Encana officially confirmed on June 16, 2008, that Jaume Plensa, an artist most famous for the Crown Fountain in Chicago, has been chosen to complete two major public art installations for the project.[20] The first work, titled Wonderland, was unveiled on January 25, 2013 and is located on the south side.[21][22] The second work, titled "Alberta's Dream" is located on the north side and depicts a bronze casting of the artist embracing a living tree.

Building details[edit]

  • Height: 236 m (774 ft)[23]
  • 58 stories
    • 2 retail floors - 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2)
    • 3 floors - sky gardens, spaced approximately every 18 floors (sky lobbies), served by express elevators
    • 53 office floors - 1,700,000 sq ft (158,000 m2)
    • 4 mechanical floors
    • In total over 84,000 square metres (900,000 sq ft) of glass
  • Footprint: 190,000 ft2 (17,700 m2)
  • Parking: 1,400 parking stalls (6 level parkade, spanning two blocks on both sides of 6th Avenue)
  • +15 skywalk connections to neighbouring buildings (Telus building, Suncor Energy Centre, [future]<> Hyatt Regency Calgary)
Source: Encana Corporation[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Bow Factsheet" (PDF). Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ CBC Article (October 2006). "EnCana unveils plans for downtown Calgary office tower". CBC News. Retrieved 2006-01-06. 
  3. ^ Calgary Herald (October 2006). "Calgary's future skyline unveiled". Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Businessedge magazine (November 2005). "Project could loom over Calgary skyline". Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  6. ^ EnCana (December 2005). "Architects selected for EnCana's new office complex". Retrieved 2007-02-15. [dead link]
  7. ^ EnCana (October 2006). "EnCana unveils The Bow - Calgary's newest tower". Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  8. ^ EnCana (October 2006). "Foster + Partners reveals designs for a new EnCana headquarters building – The Bow - in Calgary" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-15. [dead link]
  9. ^ Foster + Partners (October 2006). "designs for new EnCana HQ in Calgary". Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  10. ^ CTV news. "EnCana's $1-billion tower to be the tallest in Calgary". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  11. ^ EnCana (February 2007). "EnCana advances The Bow office project". Archived from the original on 2007-03-18. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  12. ^ "National gallery not coming to Calgary building: EnCana". CBC News. 2007-06-29. [dead link]
  13. ^ Calgary Herald (June 2007). "EnCana Tower Construction Underway". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  14. ^ Calgary Herald (August 2007). "Dreaded downtown closure begins". Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  15. ^ Calgary Herald (11 May 2008). "Concrete pour smashes record". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  16. ^ The Economist (January 2009). "A sticky ending for the tar sands". Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  17. ^ The New York Times (January 2009). "A Boom in Office Towers in Calgary". Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  18. ^ "Plans for Calgary's Bow tower to go ahead". Toronto: Globe and Mail. April 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09. [dead link]
  19. ^ CBC (2010-07-08). "The Bow rises as Calgary's tallest building". CBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  20. ^ Calgary Sun. "EnCana deal will put Calgary on world art map". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  21. ^ Encana. "Inspiring places and spaces: unveiling Wonderland". Retrieved 2103-04-27.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  22. ^ CBC News. "Bow Building head statue installation complete". Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  23. ^ Emporis. "The Bow, Calgary". Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  24. ^ EnCana. "The Bow fact sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-10-15. [dead link]

External links[edit]