Winter City Design Competition

Calgary Winter City Design Competition

The winter season is particularly long in Calgary and it can feel difficult sometimes to convince ourselves to head outdoors and embrace all that winter has to offer in our downtown. The Winter City Design Competition was launched this year to encourage thought and experimentation amongst Calgary’s local design talent to re-imagine public spaces for a winter experience that entices people to head out, linger and explore along downtown Calgary’s hallmark main street – Stephen Avenue. These installations will make the Avenue more playful, fun, bright and cozy outside.   

The City and the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape invited designers, artists and students to imagine the possibilities for winter city design along Stephen Avenue. We wanted people to explore and push beyond the boundaries of what public spaces in Calgary can be during the winter season.

Come down to Stephen Avenue between February 9 and March 9 and check out the winning designs.

Winning Submissions

Head down to Stephen Avenue and visit the competition engage page to vote for your favourite installation or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #yycwintercity.

Check out our City Newsroom story to learn about how the winners are designing public spaces for Calgarians of all ages.

Wowie – Stephen Avenue, between Centre St. and 1 St. SW

“WOWIE is an interactive experience focused on making winter feel warmer.”

- Seeton Naested, Design Lead, 12 years old

Public space is just that, public. The Team project approach sought to offer a young person the opportunity to lead a design intended for public installation. The goal of ‘WOWIE’ is to encourage wonder, exploration, and interaction in the public realm. The installation is comprised of three separate platforms that at first glance provide opportunities to sit, perch, and enjoy the atmosphere of the street. Look closely to solve the puzzle of ‘WOWIE’ by working together to illuminate Stephen Avenue.

Project team

  • Seeton Naested (Project leader/Kid specialist)
  • Julian Warring, Kelsi Hurlbut (The TULA Project)
  • Kelsi Hurlbut (The TULA Project)
  • Adam Ford (Unique Projects)
  • John Lawlor (Optics Lighting & Controls)
  • Matt Labrie (Christie Lites)
  • Audrina Lim, Alison MacLachlan, John Rivera (MTa)

View the submission

Infinito – Stephen Avenue and 2 St. SW

To make Stephen Avenue a more welcoming place in winter, we as a team designed a tunnel that focuses on intimacy, connection, and social interactions. We wanted to create a harmonious environment, an area suitable for people of all ages to visit, play, and take pictures. The warm colour from the structure’s material and its dynamic lighting emit warmth in this cold winter, bringing unity and hope to Calgary’s outlo

Project team

  • Bosco Chik
  • Charlie Jiang
  • Christian Icuspit
  • William Zhuang
  • Andrew Lee
  • Karim Kandil

2021 Submissions



  • Angat Desai, Elizabeth Daniels, Jason Ip Kang Shui, Lilian Wang, Forest Lawn Community Association



  • Yuanyuan (Anna) Guan, Candice Cheah, Judy Liu, Marina Malik, Caitlin Woods, Guy Gardner

A Midwinter Night's Screen

A Midwinter Night’s Screen

  • Robert Claiborne, Alyssa Moyer, Caleb Hildenbrandt, Edward Park, Matt Stewart, Michael Mochulski, Michael, Zabinski, Neal Philipsen

Century Gardens Winter Mobile Tunnel

Century Gardens Winter Mobile Tunnel

  • Janine Loo, Nolan Duff

Winter Seasoning

Winter Seasoning

  • Lilian Wang, Ugonna Ohakim, Edward Park

One and Only

One and Only

  • Shirley Vuong

A Window into Music

A Window into Music

  • Will Craig, Vuk Filipic, Judith MacDougall, Derek Manns

"Jiggling" Outside the Lines

“Jigging” Outside the Lines

  • David Sinclair, Kenyne Cunningham, Dallas Cunningham, Arthur Cunningham

Application Information

Stephen Avenue Locations

Stephen Avenue is a place with a diverse set of characteristics, such as a lively and vibrant central core, to quieter east and west ends. The installations will act as breadcrumbs along Stephen Avenue to help pull people through the site and experience different site conditions. The designs should complement the site context and help reactivate the Avenue to allow for people to engage with during the colder months.

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


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

Century Gardens Site

National Bank Financial Site

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 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2021 at 23:59 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 300-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 consisting of:

Kyle Auch

Over the past nine years, Kyle has developed a diverse architectural skill set while closely involved in the Cultural, Residential, Recreational, Educational and Commercial design sectors. His commitment to process orientated design and construction has supported a balanced focus and positive approach to the architecture profession. Kyle looks to enhance social connections; to critically engage and challenge the norms of what inclusive and accessible projects are. Additionally, Kyle is dedicated to showcasing the importance of a social/urban environment in developing community well-being and healthy lifestyles and to create a sense of place and belonging.

Caitlind r c Brown

Caitlind Brown is an artist, collaborator, and facilitator based in Calgary/Mohkinstsis. She works primarily in the public realm, with a keen interest in site-specificity, institutional critique, psychogeography, social interventions, and participatory contexts. After graduating from AUArts in 2010, she co-founded WRECK CITY, a curatorial collective organizing experimental art exhibitions in pre-demolition buildings. Her work has exhibited nationally and internationally, with public artworks in Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. Parallel to the process of civic art-making, Caitlind maintains a domestic winter art series called The Hibernation Project. She is a firm believer in art’s potential to permeate the everyday, building our human capacity for self-criticality and a clearer vision of the complex, superimposed world(s) that engulf us always.

Sofie Kvist

Sofie Kvist is trained in Urban Design at Aarhus School of Architecture, in Denmark. With 15 years of experience working across the globe, from Scandinavia and Europe, to Asia and the Americas, she bridges her passion for people-centered design across all scales, from public realm strategies to urban transformation and public space design. Prototyping and engagement are central pillars in all her projects, and Ms. Kvist strongly believes that without people and process, there is no project. User-oriented design at all scales, starts with understanding what people need, want and care about. Ms. Kvist is the consultant project manager for The Future of Stephen Avenue, and works closely with the City of Calgary on multiple projects across the city, related to active mobility, placemaking and neighborhood transformation. Ms. Kvist is from Copenhagen, but currently lives in San Francisco where she works for Gehl Studio Inc.

Tamara Maharaj

Tamara is a Landscape Architect and Project Manager with over 12 years’ experience in design, collaboration and construction in Calgary. Tamara’s passion is for city building and has taken a particular interest in creating functional and creative landscapes that seamlessly blend buildings, art, streetscapes and outdoor public spaces. Tamara is a strong advocate for inner-city living and making our downtown a more vibrant and interesting community for everyone in Calgary to enjoy and be proud of. Tamara has been involved in a number of creative city-building projects including the design and construction of a number of inner city parks, the New Central Library and conceptual development of Eau Claire Plaza.

Work Integrated Learning Students, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Calgary

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) students consist of Anna Tran, Davin Cheng, Jenny Li and Neve Toth. Currently, in their final year of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Calgary, they have gained knowledge in critical thinking, creative design, and fabrication. Partnering with the City of Calgary in their Work Integrated Learning Studio, they have helped curate the Winter City Design Competition and its supporting documents. The SAPL students will be part of the jury committee during the adjudication process to select the final winners for the competition. 

All eligible submissions will be reviewed by a jury consisting of City of Calgary associates, School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape (SAPL) architecture students, Calgary Downtown Association and other design professionals.

Selection Criteria

  • Showcasing creative, innovative, winter-friendly designs that respond to the competition theme - ‘Out of Bounds’.
  • 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 on December 7, 2021. After a technical review, winners will be announced to the public on December 17, 2021.

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

Chosen installations will receive $10,000 (CAD) for their project. This budget includes the costs of, but not limited to: materials, labour, fabrication, transportation, insurance, deconstruction, decommissioning, etc. Upon approval of the project, $8,000 will be released to the winning teams. The final payment of $2,000 will be released upon  completion of the installment and all expenses reconciled.

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

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. ​