Bison Courtyard at Bear Street

Mixed-Use / Residential

with William McDonough + Partners

Completed in 2005, the Bison Courtyard project in Banff, Alberta has been hailed as a “beautifully conceived and rendered building, regardless of its environmental and social agenda,” by local press.

The folding roofline echoes the profiles of the nearby glacial peaks Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain, while the courtyard, with its shade garden, wildflower meadow, aspen grove and water collecting channel, evokes and abstracts the form of the Bow Valley as it descends the ranges. Pedestrian circulation paths cross the site are like the wildlife corridors of the surrounding national park. The design also honors the place of the Old Crag Cabin, the home to Banff’s first newspaper and printing press.

The project, led by Allison Ewing while Partner at William McDonough and Partners, offers a mix of retail, and commercial space, two restaurants, a hotel and apartments. People are central to the project and the Bison Courtyard project has been a great success with town dwellers and tourists alike. The overall plan provides for multiple pathways through the project, making the courtyard a cut-through to other destinations, adding to the life of the space. The courtyard, surrounded by retail, a restaurant and a bakery, is designed to accommodate a variety of activities: theater and dance, bread baking in the massive stone fireplace and can seat small and large gatherings. The developing group, Arctos & Bird led by Peter Poole, has complemented the authenticity of the setting with inclusion of local products that only Banff can offer such as local fare of bison, elk and venison at The Bison. The community is also home to the globally respected Banff Center.

Location: Banff, Alberta
Client: Arctos and Bird
Program: Mixed-use retail, commercial & residential
Area: 35,000 sf
Status: Completed 2006
Design Architect: William McDonough + Partners, Allison Ewing Partner-in-Charge
General Contractor: PCL Corp.
Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christoffersen
Architect of Record: Zeidler Carruthers Associates
Landscape Architect: Siteworks
Landscape Architect of Record: Scatliff+Miller+Murphy