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Community Connection

In 2013, Snøhetta and DIALOG’s competition-winning design was selected for the new Calgary Central Library. The design realizes the city’s vision for a technologically advanced public space for innovation, research and collaboration at the intersection of Downtown Calgary and East Village.

Calgary, Alberta

Design Inspiration

Inspired by the nearby foothills, the site is transformed into a terraced topography that rises up and over the existing Light Rail Transit Line crossing the site. The dynamic façade is composed of a modular, hexagonal pattern that expresses the library’s aims to provide a space that invites in and embraces all visitors. From these shapes emerge familiar forms—parts of the pattern might resemble an open book, snowflake-like linework, or interlocking houses—anchoring the ideas of the collective and community.

Bridging Between Communities

The lifted library, with an open entry at the heart of the site, allows for a visual and pedestrian connection between East Village and Calgary’s downtown. The entry, framed by the wood-clad arches that reference the ‘chinook’ arch cloud formations common to Alberta, becomes a gateway to neighboring communities and provide a new outdoor civic spaces within the city.

Open And Engaging

Upon entering the library, visitors encounter a lobby awash with natural light. Your eye is drawn up through the sky lit atrium where clear visibility of the library’s public program and circulation along the atrium’s perimeter serve as a wayfinding strategy from the main entrance and on each floor. Organized on a spectrum of ‘Fun’ to ‘Serious,’ the library program locates the more lively public activities on the lower floors, gradually transitioning towards quieter, focused study areas on the upper levels as one spirals upwards.

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
Completion: November 2018

Achievements & Awards

Canadian Architect Award of Merit