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Below/Before/Between

5 Street S.W. underpass enhancement project

In summer 2022, a water-inspired art installation was added to the 5 Street S.W. underpass as part of the enhancement project.

Canadian artist Jill Anholt worked with the project’s team of engineers and landscape architects to create a functional work of art that represents Calgary's relationship with water and commemorates the geological significance of the Bow and Elbow rivers that flow through our city.

Two main elements work together to provide an engaging experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists travelling through the underpass. The flowing, teal-coloured eskers light up the area at night and divide the sidewalk from bike and traffic lanes. The ripple walls of the underpass add to the commuter’s aquatic encounter. 

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Artist statement

"The 5 Street S.W. underpass serves as a current connector between Calgary’s Bow and Elbow rivers as well as a reminder of the buried layers of this area’s ancient water-related origins from stream deposits flowing beneath glaciers to the fossilized remnants of wave actions and currents within a prehistoric inland sea. Fossilized ripple stone supplied by Rundle Rock (Kamenka) Quarry was used to create the molds for the precast concrete wall."

Jill Anholt

About the artist

Jill Anholt is an award-winning artist known for her art in public spaces across North America.

Jill has a background in sculpture and architectural design. Many of her works, ranging from small-scale interpretive features to complex public space installations, are a result of collaborations with design teams.

Whether it's a stand-alone piece or an integrated design project, she uses lighting and various materials to create dynamic works that engage the viewer.

You can view her work on her website.

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