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Bringing Communities Together

The next family destination and gathering place for ideas.

Calgary, Alberta

Design Inspiration

The site for the new library is particularly challenging. It is bisected by an LRT tunnel that emerges to grade at the north end of the property. On the west is City Hall and a connection to downtown - on the east is East Village, a rapidly redeveloping downtown community. It was a directive of the competition that the new Library form a bridge over the LRT creating a connection for two communities where one does not exist today. The design provides for a terraced plaza that rises up over the LRT Tunnel to create the connection and entry into the Library. The concept was to provide a “mixing zone” for pedestrians who will travel this route daily with an offering of the Library at the center of their journey.

Bridging Between Communities

Contemporary libraries are engaging spaces. Calgary’s New Central Library will engage community through visually open spaces and comfortable lounge areas. Technologically advanced multi-purpose meeting spaces, lecture theatres and learning commons, children’s activity areas and maker spaces as well as cafes, recording studios and open community “living rooms” are all intermingled with books and other interactive resources. The library will be a true "place"- where all Calgarians can find the classes, activities, events and other supports and services that lead to engaged citizenship.

Open And Engaging

The Library is organized vertically, starting with the most engaging programs on the lowest floors and spiralling up around the open sky-lit atrium to more focussed study areas on the upper levels. The atrium serves as a natural orientation and way-finding strategy - as patrons find their way up through the library the various programmes and key functional spaces are clearly visible from any point along the journey.

Project facts

Size: 240,000 square feet
Cost: $146 M
Builder : Stuart Olson
Collaborators: Design Architect - Snøhetta, Structural - Entuitive, Electrical - SMP
DIALOG: Executive Architect, Mechanical, Landscape + Urban Design
Client: Calgary Public Library
LEED: Targeting Gold
Potential Completion Date: 2018

Achievements & Awards

Canadian Architect Award of Merit