Maya Lin—the famed interdisciplinary designer—is set to design her first project in Canada. In Calgary, Lin is designing a new, 13,000-square-foot rooftop terrace for the JR Shaw Centre for Arts & Culture, an addition by DIALOG underway to the Glenbow Museum.
“The space will afford a welcoming place that will invite visitors to connect to art, landscape and the city of Calgary,” Lin said in a press statement. “This idea that we are recycling a building in the center of downtown Calgary and making something new out of it while utilizing as much of the old building was a huge draw for me. If we can use an existing building in a better way, it is a lot more energy efficient, it is a lot more material efficient, and it sends a very different message about resource consumption and directly counters attitudes about a throwaway culture.”
Lin’s design will have an all-season pavilion, event spaces, sculpture and gardens, and a skylight and oculus that bring natural light into the museum. The roof top terrace will also provide a stunning new public amenity for downtown Calgary. From above, the promenade will offer western views of Calgary’s Stephen Avenue, and of iconic buildings like the Calgary Tower, TELUS Sky, and The Bow.
Renderings of the sculpture garden show the verdant space’s numerous plant and rock beds, conceived in organic shapes. Bench seating and other outdoor table sets provide places of reprieve for museum patrons. Seating also wraps around the perimeter of the skylight. The all-season pavilion is slated to feature an all-glass facade with gold mullions. A green roof tops the ovoid structure.
The terrace is being designed in junction with DIALOG’s renovation to the Glenbow Museum, which refaces the structure with a metallic perforated skin.
“We are transforming a 50-year-old roof at the museum into a community-oriented place where you can come up out of downtown and find refuge and respite to celebrate the arts surrounded by Glenbow’s program and collections,” said Nicholas R. Bell, president and CEO of Glenbow. “We are so excited that Maya Lin is the visionary who will shape this experience for our visitors.”
The roof top terrace was made possible by a $25 million donation from Shaw Family Foundation to establish the JR Shaw Free Admission Endowment. It’s set to open to the public in mid-2026. The opening will coalesce with DIALOG’s transformation of the existing, twentieth century Glenbow Museum.
Other projects Lin is currently working on include, a new performing arts studio at Bard College and a water feature for the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center.