Winter City Design Competition

Calgary Winter City Design Competition

Have a Winter Dream for Calgary’s Downtown? We’d love to hear it.

Innovative winter design is needed for great public spaces to thrive in the colder months of the year. Winnipeg has its warming huts, Germany has its Christmas Markets. What interventions and activations could fit like a glove in Calgary’s climate and culture?

Calgary’s Winter City Design Competition will explore this question. The City is inviting designers, artists and students to imagine the possibilities for winter city design in our downtown. We want people to explore and push beyond the boundaries of what public spaces in Calgary can be during the winter season.

Winning submissions will receive funding to build and install their designs in three locations in Calgary’s downtown and will be on display for approximately 4 weeks in February and March 2023.

2023 Theme: Winter Dreamscape


In this more dormant period of the year, where days are shorter and we experience a slower pace - can we take the time to dream?  Carl Jung saw dreams as the psyche's attempt to communicate important things to the individual.  Winter Dreamscape asks designers to dream of something important for our winter public realm, and to share this dream with the public.

 

It is during the cold winter months that we move less, socialize less, and yearn for those moments of sun soaking into our skin.  Sometimes these conditions can wear on our mental health.  What can we dream up that will create more resiliency, better social connections, and increase overall wellness?

 

Let’s not forget, there are benefits to winter - the crisp clean air, the warmth of a cozy atmosphere, the greater aptitude for reflection and contemplation in the slow down.  What do you dream of for our future winter cities?  What would enhance our sense of well-being in the colder months?  What can we dream into reality?

Competition Locations


Submit a design for your chosen location along Stephen Avenue/8 Avenue SW (between Macleod Trail and 11 Street SW). All submitted locations are subject to review and approval. If a submitted location does not work, we will work with successful applicants to find a suitable location. Download the complete submission guides for further information.

OR

Submit a design for one of the three pre-approved locations. Century Gardens (8 Avenue & 8 Street SW), Barb Scott Park (12 Avenue SW & 9 Street SW) and the corner of Stephen Avenue & 2 Street SW (in front of National Financial Bank) have been pre-approved for installations.

Enter your idea into the competition

Remember to change the file name before uploading your application.

Submission Guidelines


This call for submissions is open to architects, artists, engineers, designers, students, and other disciplines. This competition encourages participants to form multi-disciplinary teams. Individual applicants or at least one (1) member of the team must be credible in technical and construction skills to ensure the installation is delivered according to the submitted submission. Applicants are limited to one (1) proposal per team. At least half the team or the individual must be located in the Calgary Region for ease of construction, transportation, maintenance (if any issues arise) and decommissioning of the installation.

Proposals must be submitted electronically by THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10 AT 12:00 PM MST. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Entries shall be submitted as two separate PDF files (Team Information; Design Proposal Information) not exceeding 10MB each. Each entry should contain the following documents (in English):

Team Information (PDF):

  • Four (4) page maximum, 8.5” x 11” portrait;
  • Name of proposed project;
  • Individual or team members’ name;
  • Name of primary contact and their contact information;
  • A maximum 250-word description of the individual or team including any relevant technical / design expertise;
  • Images of selected projects that team members have been responsible for.

*Team information is withheld from the jury until the final selection.

Design Proposal Information (PDF):

  • Two (2) page maximum, 11” x 17” landscape;
  • Name of proposed project;
  • Project Summary (Max. 250 words) - Description of the overall design idea
  • and the experience offered to the visitors;
  • 3D renderings / images showing the overall design;
  • Design Detail(s) - Plan & elevation(s) that will help communicate the design;
  • Indicate size and proposed materials along with budgeting of materials;
  • Diagram(s) and / or detail(s) indicating method of installation / construction
  • Images and drawings should be at 300 DPI resolution.

Download the complete submission guides.

Selection Process


All eligible submissions will be reviewed by a jury and technical committee.

The 2022 selection jury consists of:

Sharon Martens

Sharon Martens graduated from the School of Interior Design within the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in 1978. After working with an architectural firm in Winnipeg, Sharon relocated to Calgary in 1980 to join a large national interior design firm focusing on corporate workplace solutions. In 1990 Sharon formed MartensGroup Licensed Interior Design Studio Ltd. MartensGroup’s portfolio included numerous corporate, institutional, hospitality, retail and residential projects. In 2017, Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. acquired the firm.

Currently, Sharon is a Strategic Business consultant within the Kasian Lifescape Sector team. Her enjoyment and passion for Design, Art, Architecture, and Culture is reflected in becoming one of the 5 founders of The Society for Art and the City. Sharon is currently a Director on the Boards of Mount Royal University Foundation, the Interior Designers of Canada Foundation and The Society for Art and the City and is a supporter of both Contemporary Calgary and Calgary Philharmonic. 

Mark Garner

Mark Garner has been a successful business and community leader for more than 30 years. As Executive Director Calgary Downtown Association one of fifteen BIAs in Calgary, Mark is an active champion for building a thriving, vibrant city centre.  Among his achievements is spearheading Downtown Yonge’s Music Strategy, an ambitious, multi-pronged plan to celebrate and promote music in Toronto – past, present and future. A firm believer in the cultural and economic importance of live music and preservation of vital music venues, Mark has been a driving force in music-related initiatives along with advocating for Arts and Culture as a key economic need for the recovery of Downtown’s across Canada. His accomplishments include arranging heritage plaques and walking tours around downtown Toronto’s historical music sites; activating live music – led by the Play the Parks program which purposely designed to support the music sector in Artist and Audience development and is now in its 10th year of free lunchtime concerts; commissioning 22-storey high murals celebrating Toronto’s musical legends; producing videos to tell the stories of legendary venues like The Colonial Tavern; and most recently, establishing the Toronto Music Experience, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship, preservation and celebration of Toronto’s music legacy. Tapping into his decades of relationship-building, Mark plans to work closely with organizations in Calgary to make downtown Calgary a great place to live, work, play, learn and shop.

Kathryn Glendinning

Kathryn is a registered landscape architect, working throughout western Canada to design and enhance the public realm. She works collaboratively with clients to create public plazas, community parks, enrich streetscapes and restore natural parks which have been negatively impacted by natural forces. She has a keen interest in landscape restoration and ecological design practices and is always seeking ways to increase the habitat value and biodiversity within her work. Kathryn aspires to design environments that are contextually sensitive, that find the balance between the needs of the public, the environment, and private realms.

Jenna Matthews

Jenna is a Project Manager with the City of Calgary in the Urban & Community Systems business unit. She is currently leading the Future of Stephen Ave project and recently complete the execution of the Eau Claire Community Hub. She is a registered Landscape Architect with the Alberta Association of Landscape Architects. Prior to joining the City, she has over 7 years of consulting experience managing and collaborating on a diverse range of public realm design and construction projects. She is passionate about creating place-making projects that contribute to building great communities.

Sarah Meilleur

Sarah Meilleur is the CEO of Calgary Public Library. She led the design thinking, completion and launch of Calgary’s new Central Library that has seen over three million visitors since opening in November 2018. Sarah is a recognized speaker at international conferences, has authored numerous journal articles, and has lectured at Harvard University on library design. She believes in supporting the community through volunteering and has served as the vice-chair for the Calgary Heritage Authority, on the Cultural Leadership Council and the Social Wellbeing Advisory Committee. She was also the recipient of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 award in 2011. Sarah is passionate about the ways in which public libraries transform lives to foster curiosity, innovation, and belonging for fantastic visitor experiences.

Carmen Hindson

Carmen Hindson is the Manager of Centre City Operations for Parks & Open Spaces. Carmen has a background in urban planning policy and public safety. Her current focus is to provide safe and inclusive downtown open spaces, and to improve perceptions of safety in the Centre City. She is dedicated to increasing the vibrancy of downtown parks and attracting Calgarians to enjoy the diversity, beauty and energy in this area. Carmen has a strong interest in finding new and creative ways to activate public spaces throughout the seasons. 

Alia Shahab

Alia Shahab is a first generation Arab Canadian visual artist of Singaporean, Yemeni and British descent, currently residing between the unceded traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people, in Kootenay, British Columbia, and Mohkínstsis/Calgary on Treaty 7 Land. Alia works primarily in sculpture, electronics, media, and installation arts, using scale, exaggeration, absurdity, repetition, interactivity, and play to prompt inquiry of connection, identity, and our bodies through constructed experiences. Since graduating from the Alberta University of Arts (previously known as Alberta College of Art & Design) in 2012, Alia has created media installations and sculptures for festivals and exhibitions in Canada and abroad.

Selection Criteria


  • Showcasing creative, innovative, winter-friendly designs that respond to the competition theme - ‘Winter Dreamscape'.
  • The originality and clarity of the design that responds to the site and the competition theme.
  • The durability of the projects and its ability to withstand spectators and inclement weather (snow, high winds, hail, etc.)
  • The ease of fabrication and decommissioning that abides to City of Calgary’s Bylaws and safety standards. The construction documents will be assessed and evaluated by the City of Calgary.
  • Demonstrating provisions for barrier-free access.
  • The ability for the installation to be engaged by the public is strongly recommended.
  •  Any content deemed inappropriate will not be shown.

Finalists will be notified via email later in November. After a technical review, winners will be announced to the public by the end of November 2022.

People’s Choice Award: The community will be given an opportunity to engage with the installations and vote for their favourite designs during the final weeks of the Winter City Design Competition.

Budget for Winners


The budget for the three (3) selected submissions is $14,000 (CAD) for each project. This budget includes the costs of, but not limited to: materials, labor, fabrication, transportation, insurance, deconstruction, decommissioning, etc. Applicants are encouraged to source or apply for additional donations or grants for materials or other expenses (travel, printed material, etc.) to assist with the construction or the planning of their project.

In addition $1,000 will be provided to each team as an honorarium.

Upon approval of the project, $13,000 will be released to the winning teams. The final payment of $2,000 will be released upon completion and removal of the installment.

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact Kate Zago, project lead for the Winter City Design Competition.

Past Winners


If you want to see our past winners of the contest, then view our archive.


This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​