The BMO Centre Expansion project is a force of nature that will transform life in the city for the community of Calgary. The project takes an existing landmark, the BMO Center, and improves it far beyond the limitations of the previous building to better cater to its intended function: being a community center binding the residents of the community and bringing them together for numerous events. To undertake such a feat, Stantec, a global design and engineering firm, alongside Populous and S2 have collaborated. In this article, Stantec’s involvement in terms of design philosophy, planning and execution, style and concept, materials and construction, along with innovative and inspirational elements used in the project will be explored.

The BMO Centre is a cultural hotspot_httpspopulous.combmo-centre-expansion-marks-massive-steel-structure-completion
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Design Philosophy | BMO Centre

When designing the BMO Center Expansion, Stantec developed a design philosophy centered around three main pillars: sustainability, public participation, and flexibility. For Stantec, sustainability was a core element. They employed sustainable materials and methods, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting as well as green roofs. The design also incorporated passive design strategies for cooling and heating to reduce energy consumption while maintaining a pleasant atmosphere indoor.

Stantec prioritized public participation as the second pillar of its design philosophy. The designers upheld community engagement with their design decisions thus creating a space that was welcoming to all, regardless of any factor. This could be seen with their choice to keep the structure easy to access through a ground floor that isn’t bound by any barriers. Other inclusive decisions were implemented through the signage and art installations of the local community. All of this goes to make the BMO Center Expansion a project that engages the public.

Additionally, the BMO Center expansion was designed to be very flexible and adaptable. Considering the nature of events that the Center hosts, Stantec had to design a space to accommodate different kinds of activities and numbers of attendees. To this end, several features were included to maximize the functionality such as movable walls, modular furniture, and flexible event spaces.

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Planning and Design

Throughout the planning process for the BMO Center Expansion, Stantec reached out to the City of Calgary and the event organizers to collaborate. A meticulous design was the outcome of working closely with multiple stakeholders to ensure that their needs and expectations are met. 

One might ask how this was achieved. One of the main concerns was to minimize the disruption afforded to the city and surroundings during construction. This was mitigated by commissioning a construction plan that managed noise and dust outputs as well as traffic management. The second key concern was flexibility as previously detailed where the design encompassed a wide range of event spaces.

After a rigorous process of consultation with the stakeholders, the final design for the BMO Center Expansion was conceived. The design was created by taking into account the input from event organizers, attendees, and members of the nearby community resulting in a space that was both practical and visually appealing.

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Style and Concept | BMO Centre

The BMO Center Expansion in its final form takes on a style that was inspired by the surrounding landscape. A quote on Stantec’s website reads: “Drawing inspiration from Calgary, the … design evokes the sculpted riverbanks of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, the rolling foothills leading into the Rocky Mountains, and the pioneering spirit of the Stampede.

The exterior of the building incorporates elements of the natural environment with its undulating roof and curved lines as well as the use of natural materials like wood and stone. On the other hand, the interior emphasizes the modern, dynamic aesthetic of the building through the use of cutting-edge technology.

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Pavillion Lights_httpsvenues.calgarystampede.combmo-centre-expansion

Materials and Construction

Considering that the construction of this striking building is a major undertaking, the design and construction team had to work closely to plan and execute the project on time and within budget.

What makes this building such a challenge to construct is its unique shape. The fluid dynamic mass requires a high degree of precision and attention to detail to achieve satisfying results- structurally and aesthetically. For this reason, the team utilizes advanced computer modeling tools as well as traditional building techniques to create the outcome. The construction of the BMO Center Expansion integrated advanced materials, too, to improve its energy efficiency. 

Even with the various challenges presented by this construction process, the BMO Center Expansion was completed on time and within the set budget. The result is a testament to how team collaboration allows for the best design and building practices to emerge. 

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Sleek and modern interiors_httpspopulous.combmo-centre-expansion-marks-massive-steel-structure-completion

Innovative and Inspirational Elements

After mentioning how the Center makes use of advanced technology, it is worth highlighting some of these aspects. These range from modern gadgets to structure to sustainable design features.

One innovative feature of the project is the use of digital signage and interactive displays. These displays offer information to visitors and virtual reality tours. Another impressive feature is the use of movable walls that tailor spaces to the event organizer’s needs. Lastly, the expansion design also promotes environmentally conscious practices with examples like rainwater harvesting systems, green roofs, and solar panels. 

In summary, the BMO Center Expansion is an outstanding case of creative and inspiring design. It sets a fresh standard for event spaces with its cutting-edge technology, and eco-friendly characteristics, and provides attendees with a distinctive and immersive experience.

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The BMO Centre at night_httpswww.cedistrict.comprojectsbmo-centre

Conclusion | BMO Centre

To conclude, the BMO Center Expansion exemplifies contemporary design, eco-friendly construction techniques, and innovative technology. The building’s distinct shape, use of locally procured materials, and integration of sustainable features culminate in a truly unique structure that is not only aesthetically stunning but also environmentally conscious. Moreover, the implementation of groundbreaking technology, such as digital signage and interactive displays, enhances the immersive and captivating experience for event attendees. The effective partnership between the design and construction teams, along with the vision and leadership of Stantec, ensured the project’s success, delivering an unparalleled event space that establishes a new standard for the industry. The BMO Center Expansion serves as a representation of the finest in modern design and sustainable construction practices and is a source of pride for both the city of Calgary and the design and construction teams that brought it to fruition.

The heart of the city’s experiences_httpsvenues.calgarystampede.combmo-centre-expansion

Reference List

  1. BMO Centre Expansion Design – Stantec (no date) Stantec. Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023).  
  2. BMO Centre expansion (no date) Calgary Stampede. Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023). 
  3. BMO Centre expansion (no date) Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023). 
  4. Info (2022) BMO Centre Expansion Marks Massive Steel Structure Completion, Populous. Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023). 
  5. BMO Centre expansion: Entro (no date) Archello. Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023). 
  6. Info (2022) BMO Centre Expansion Marks Massive Steel Structure Completion, Populous. Available at: (Accessed: March 17, 2023). 

Jana Haj Ali is an aspiring architectural writer and designer based in Beirut. Throughout her undergraduate years, she has sought to experiment with storytelling through design. Jana’s research interests span the intersection of architecture, identity, and history in the Middle East. In her free time, she enjoys visiting museums and hiking.