Canadian Consulting Engineer

Glass walkway in Jasper National Park wins approval

Read Jones Christoffersen is the structural engineer for the Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park, Alberta. The walk is a 300-metre interpretive trail that cuts into the face of a cliff high above the Icefields parkway in Jasper...

February 22, 2012   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Read Jones Christoffersen is the structural engineer for the Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park, Alberta. The walk is a 300-metre interpretive trail that cuts into the face of a cliff high above the Icefields parkway in Jasper National Park.

The project includes a 35-metre structure that is cantilevered out from a cliff edge, affording visitors spectacular views of the icefield and mountains. To add to the drama, the walkway incorporates a section with a glass floor.

The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister, announced earlier this month that the project had received environmental approval, though there had been opposition from some environmental groups.

Simon Brown is the structural engineer at RJC who led the project. Sturgess Architecture is the architect and the owner is Brewster Travel Canada.

The structure is intended to “push the limits of the sense of exposure” for the visitors, says RJC. “We want people to feel as if they are suspended in the air over the Sunwapta Valley floor. The curved plan also allows us to use a unique cable suspension system to minimize visible support, thus enhancing the sense of excitement as  you walk along it.”

In the government’s press release announcing approval for the project was a statement that the 1940s-era Icefield Parkway in Banff and Jasper national parks “is an iconic feature and part of one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural areas in the world.”  It also said that “Parks Canada would not approve this project if it were to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

The project won the “Future Projects” category in the World Architecture Festival Awards held in Barcelona, Spain last November.


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