University of Calgary

Red letter day for arch

UToday HomeOctober 4, 2012

Photo by Riley BrandtUniversity President Elizabeth Cannon presents a letter from the old sign to entrance arch designer Bob Loov on Wednesday. Photo by Riley BrandtThe arch spanning the University of Calgary’s main entrance on 24 Ave. NW debuted its new colour scheme last month – the result of a student initiative to renew the structure initially designed by members of the Faculty of Engineering in the 1960s.

Now painted in University of Calgary red, the renewal of the arch and updating the sign adjacent to it was funded through the Students’ Union quality money program. It is the first step of a university-wide program to improve signage and wayfinding standards.

Originally designed by faculty members Bob Loov and Brian Hope as the framework for a pedestrian bridge over Crowchild Way, the arch was moved to its present location in 1986 when the road was widened for the construction of the light rail station. It served as a break from tradition, replacing the gates that stood at the university’s entrances.

University President Elizabeth Cannon presided over a small ceremony Wednesday, presenting Loov with a letter from the old sign which stood under the arch as a memento of his role in designing the landmark.

“When Brian and Bob saw the plans for a more conventional bridge, they knew they could do better – and they did,” says Cannon. “It was audacious for our faculty members to design a bridge in 1966, and it was just as bold to create a new university in this young city that same year. The arch represents our past, and also the pride that we have in our many accomplishments and success today.”

Students’ Union President Hardave Birk said the decision to use funds from the quality money program to restore the arch was the brainchild of student Dominik Rozwadowski.

“Dominik had been walking under this arch and past the old sign for five years and found it old, depressing and uninspiring,” says Birk. “He felt they needed rejuvenation to stimulate inspiration for current and future students, and this is a perfect example of why the quality money program was created and what it can achieve.”