The WOWie! project explored an ‘Out of Bounds’ theme in two ways. The first was by offering a young person the opportunity to lead a design intended for a public installation. Design is often not accessible to youth, and our team wanted to include someone who would likely be an end-user and might typically be under-represented in the design process of a project of this nature. The second way the team explored this theme was through blurring the lines between vehicle space and pedestrian space along Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary through interactive lighting elements to draw in pedestrians and enhance the surrounding public realm. The project team collaborated with a 12-year-old student who brought his perspective of play, scale, connection, inclusiveness, and winter fun to the core of the design concept to envision what ‘Out of Bounds’ could become. The collective team supported him in his design visioning throughout the site analysis, workshops, concept development, and professional technical support.
University of Calgary
± 300 ft²
± $10 K
City of Calgary Winter City Design Winner (2021)
The goal of the project was to encourage pedestrian connection and engagement through interaction with the installation and ultimately with other users on the street. To achieve this, IR (infrared) light sensors were incorporated into the structure, and when activated, lights within the structure illuminated. When the IR sensors were activated simultaneously by different individuals, different light shows activated in RGBW light spectrum. When all six sensors were pressed simultaneously on all three structures, a linear LED light panel would light up on the tallest column, and flood lights placed in the base of the structure would shine across the road. This encouraged pedestrians to move into and across the road right-of-way, encouraging folks to reimagine how they can use vehicular space. Some sensors were placed higher, requiring creative thinking and teamwork to active. This puzzle required cooperation and awareness, encouraging connection, teamwork and collaboration between people who knew each o ther and people who had never met before. The goal of ‘WOWIE’ was to encourage wonder, exploration, and interaction in the public realm and provide opportunities to sit, perch, and enjoy the atmosphere of the street and to illuminate Stephen Avenue.