St. Patrick's Island




CLIENT Calgary Municipal Land Corporation / SIZE 12.5 Ha. / 31.0 Ac. / STATUS Competition finalist, 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Allied Works Architecture / David Skelley / NIP / Creative Concern / Knippers  Helbig / Sherwood / Design Engineers / Trans Solar / Hanscomb / Anne Georg / Terry Bullick

Balmori Associates’ entry for St. Patrick’s Island competition revisits and modernizes the eternal idea of Eden and the foundation of a new era. We propose attracting and supporting wildlife on their terms, not ours. In doing so, we offer a powerful point of comparison with the adjacent Calgary Zoo and create a model for our future relations with other living things.

An assemblage of habitats as an ecological mosaic allows local fauna and flora to thrive.  Diversified vegetation cover, enhanced topographical features and integrated water-based ecosystems are relevant to the site’s situation within the Bow River floodplain. Known as “edge effect”, the overlap zones between habitats (ecotones) are privileged as they typically present increased variety of plants.

Bedford House




CLIENT  Confidential / SIZE 3200 ft2 / STATUS Completed 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Joel Sanders Architect

This project was generated as one of integrating landscape and architecture. Cascading down the hillside of a woodland sanctuary, Bedford House is a renovation of a 1950s weekend home on a 4-acre site that abuts a 225-acre nature conservancy. Organic and synthetic materials - wood, stone, concrete and plants - link interior and exterior, interweaving  landscape, pool, and main house.

Materials are the connective tissue. The white concrete surface continues from inside the house to outdoors, interlocking with bluestone pavers and creating a path that leads down to the pool terrace. The white concrete surface folds up and cantilevers over the pool terrace to form the pool house, while field stone retaining walls dynamically wrap the pool house and make the pool into a sculpture.

Bands of vegetation undulate across the front and rear of the property, unifying the site before dispersing into the forest, in a composition that changes color with the seasons.

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

2011 - Fort Worth, TX, USA

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Fort Worth, TX, USA

CLIENT Botanical Research Institute of Texas / SIZE 12 acres + Green Roof & Walls / STATUS Completed 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture  /  LEED Platinum Certification

Given the heat and the continuous presence of the Texas sun, the play of light andshade became a design frame. Water management was very important in this project since droughts are followed by torrential rains.  The parking lot along with the roofs is part of an active stormwater management system and research field, an ecological working system. Water then needs to be contained, cleaned and stored for drought-period reuse.  Additionally, the water collected from roofs is stored in a cistern and reused for supplying a pond and for watering plants in a drought, and the roof. The green roof is also a niche for preserving the beautiful Fort Worth Prairie in a new form for the future. 

The main entrance, which unites the Botanical Research Institute to the Botanic Garden consists of a major display of plantings based on “Systematics,” a type of research which is the core mission of BRIT. BRIT describes systematics as research seeking an understanding of evolutionary relationships among species—in other words, looking at species not as fixed entities but as evolving systems. Another element of our design is the representation of the Fort Worth Prairie geological strata: thin limestone and sands are recast as a set of seating ledges for the outdoor education space. The sustainable image of the institute is broadcast also by the walls of the herbarium which are designed with overlapping vines.

Metis Garden Festival

2011 - Grand-Métis, Quebec, Canada

Metis Garden Festival

Grand-Métis, Quebec, Canada

CLIENT Metis International Garden Festival, Reford Gardens / SIZE 150 m2 / STATUS Completed, 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Consulmar S.R.L / Denis Pelli, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, New York University

Water introduces a powerful horizontal allowing the eye to extend far over its flat surface and wide along the horizon, producing a particularly pleasurable experience which becomes an inseparable part of the landscape experience. We researched devices that manipulate the way one apprehends space and make the viewer more conscious of the act of seeing. The viewing device chosen for this demonstration is a tube or truncated cone (with both ends cut off). The cone restricting the visual field is implemented as a series of planes with a circular opening, the void gradually rising from the ground. When progressing through the frames towards the water focusing on the floating element the field of view opens itself, the horizon gets wider and infinite space offers itself to the viewer.