MEDIA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN EDMONTON I Supporting the creative community in Edmonton by hosting events and providing opportunities for local designers
The Lower Plaza is either the end or the beginning of the funicular journey. it is a place that is well connected to the Low Level Bridge and Louise McKinney Park. The lower plaza exists at the lowest point in the River Valley Trail System. Wheelchair riders, cyclists, runners and walkers can now get down to the furthest place into the river valley through the mechanized access. The river occasionally floods (once every 100-years on average). The plaza is below the high level water line and all of the machinery for the elevator is built up on a plinth to raise it out of the flood plain. Most elevators, according to building codes, go to the ground floor in an emergency. Due to the elevator base being below the flood plane, the Funicular elevator defaults to the top floor in the case of an emergency.
The Lower Plaza is part of a busy shared use trail and developing a space for Funicular visitors without impeding crossing traffic was a priority. The project team wanted to provide space for people to view the water, sit, wait for and view the elevator without impeding traffic. There’s aren't many places in Edmonton, where along the river valley trail, you can sit and view safely the Saskatchewan River water. Part of the work was to open up some of the views and provide a bit of a visual connection, while preserving as many trees as possible, including the one that is growing up under the bridge. The cantilever acts as a wayfinding landmark or beacon along the multi-use trail. It is visible from the Low Level Bridge and Louise McKinney Park. Multi-use trail travelers are drawn towards the glass elevator which takes them right up to downtown.