Great Plains Recreation

Finalist 2020

The Great Plains Recreation Facility is a new civic anchor on the east edge of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The project elevates the architectural expression in the area and sets an example for subsequent developments. The project’s bold use of color creates a warm and welcoming center point for the developing area and creates a landmark quality center for ‘sport’ and ‘community.’
Strong graphic planning emphasizes the corner site as a prominent, luminous civic beacon – announcing the presence of the facility to the area’s arterial road. A bright orange carved extrusion to the building’s arrival elevation acts as the entrance signifier – mimicking the low western sunset. The fully glazed entrance of laminated glass hockey graphics creates ‘rural billboards’ expressive of ice sports and creates a unique identity, and a backdrop for a lively animated public space. In the long winter evenings, the orange glow creates a hearth-like gesture in its snowy landscape, suggesting a warm welcoming point, filtering visitors into the lobby behind.

As the first public building in this immediate area, civic peacemaking is critical to the success of the area's revitalization. The building’s plan is centered around a hollowed-out space between the rinks that acts as a dynamic social heart of the facility. Expansion is anticipated by developing a geometry that is ‘flipped’ and ‘mirrored’ to complete the quad pad complex; defining two arrival forecourts. The internal plan would create a centralized lobby around an elevated restaurant space.

The Great Plains Recreation Facility successfully demonstrates how a clear architectural use of color can create a comprehensive wayfinding strategy that forms the graphic identity of a developing civic hub and its larger growing community.

Design Firm: 



City of Calgary

Project Area: 

79,000 square feet

Open Date: 

January 2016

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Shai Gil, Bruce Edward Statham (photography)

Design Team: 

Ted Watson (partner in charge), Tarisha Dolyniuk (interiors lead), Timothy Belanger (environmental graphic design lead), Viktors Jaunkalns (design lead), Janice Lee (project architect), Philip Wharton (design team), Andrew Bramm (design team), Woosuk An (design team)


Tom Tittemore (MTa, Architects in Association)


Knight Signs,  (signage fabricators), Graham Construction (general contractor)

Related Links: 

New Member Offer

Click to access the 2020 "Never been an SEGD member before" $185 sign up offer

Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 SEGD Academic Summit
2023 Experience Washington D.C.
2023 Branded Environments