See the Ice field in Canadian Rockies from Glacier Skywalk with Glass-bottom

Interesting Engineering

When the original designs for the Glacier Skywalk were revealed in 2011 they were applauded and took the title at the World Architecture Festival in the Future Projects Category Award. Now the project has finally been completed, it has become a stunning observation deck with glass bottom that offers some of the most spectacular views out over the Columbia Ice field situated in the Canadian Rockies.

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The Glacier Skywalk consists of an impressive free viewing area along with cliff edge walkway and an observation desk, featuring a walkway that has curved glass on the floor and which has been suspended 918 feet high above the Sunwapta Valley in the Canadian Rockies. The project was undertaken by the engineering company Read Jones Christofferson along with Sturgess Architecture and the build team PCL Construction Management.

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Read Jones Christofferson said "We wanted to push the limits of the sense of exposure offered and quickly decided that the best way to approach this would be to construct a glass floored walk area. We want people to feel as if they are suspended in the air over the Sunwapta Valley floor." They certainly achieved this as thanks to the glass flooring many people do have a sense of danger when they are walking high above the ground.

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Christofferson went on to say that "In developing our design, we carefully considered what would maximize the impact of the site for visitors while respecting the environment."

Just as with the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the team of engineers wanted their design to take on a curved appearance so as to offer visitors the best views, along with providing an experience that is thrilling.

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The design comes with an intricate cable suspension system that helps to camouflage the supports. The team of designers had to choose materials and their construction methods carefully so as to the local site restrictions into account and ensure that the structure blending with the natural surroundings. At the same time maintenance requirements and durability also had to be considered.

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Thanks to the sheer bulk of the structure, weathering steel was chosen as it is durable and requires little maintenance. At the same time it blended in with the rocky landscape. The cost of the Glacier Skywalk came it at around USD $19 million.

The Skywalk gives people a connection with the parks natural environment, this was one of the main goals of the company building the platform, offering a way for them to connect in a way that they had never done before. Being able to stand and look down through the glass floor way offers not only a unique view that is amazing, but gives the sense of being as one with nature.


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