The Blind Jam Crossing

The Blind Jam Crossing is a hybrid structure, part crossing, part flood-defense mechanism, part log jam and part bird blind with associated habitat.

The crossing, both functional infrastructure and public art, was built as part of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Reconnection Project. The project revitalized habitats for fish, birds, and wildlife, added enhancements to protect against future flooding, and repaired flood damage and erosion to the park. A new inlet channel was constructed to reconnect the Bow River to the lagoon to provide a steady stream of fresh water and safe passage for fish. Artist Tim Knowles was embedded into the project team and led the design of the crossing over the new channel while contributing to other aspects of the restorative initiative.

Knowles worked closely with structural engineer Kristy Neish on the design of the crossing, which serves many key purposes. It provides a river crossing for pedestrians and at times, emergency and parks vehicles. It serves as a flood-defense mechanism protecting the lagoon and park during a flood event. It also reflects the history of the site which housed a sawmill and used the lagoon to store logs floated down the Bow River. Incorporated into the build and stacked around the crossing are large timber logs that reference the site’s history and repurposes trees removed during the creation of the channel. Every effort was made to minimize the number of trees removed and Knowles made use of the woody debris in the design to create habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

Part of the design included the construction of a pool with a small island and woody debris to create natural habitat for wildlife. It provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to observe nesting and perching birds, beavers, fish, and other animals from the screened vantage point of the bridge above.
As well as designing the new crossing, Knowles worked alongside engineers, hydrologists, ecologists and many others on the overall Inglewood Bird Sanctuary Reconnection Project.

During a month-long residency at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in 2018, Knowles immersed himself in the sanctuary and attempted to “map the movement of everything” using satellite imagery and a bespoke drawing app, the paths of birds, animals, fish, people, and other objects were recorded. The data collected was used to produce eight large-scale drawings which mapped the patterns of movement and behaviours of both wildlife and humans within the sanctuary and informed his input as part of the project team.

City of Calgary Public Art Collection

Medium:  Large Alaskan Yellow Cedar logs, machined Douglas Fir, stainless steel fixings, galvanized structural steel, concrete substructure, landscaping and planting.
Tim Knowles Studio
Unit 3,  Bannerman Buildings,  8-10 Bannerman Road,   Bristol   BS5 0RR   UK
+44 (0) 7887 566156