Although finished in 2018 the Snøhetta designed (local firm DIALOG) Calgary Central Library has unfortunately failed to make it into elemente’s pages until now. Considered by many to be one of the premiere architectural designs in the country, this $245 million CAD, 240,000 sq.ft that sits 60% larger than its predecessor is an architectural masterstroke. Since its opening the Marquise/ dory-boat influenced space the new library has seen more than 2 million plus visitors through its doors.
Offering up expansive naturally lit spaces, across 4 unique floor plans, visitors interact with digital or analog experiences, in groups or as individuals.
The library’s unique exterior treatment according to Snøhetta, “…variations on the hexagon form scatter across the building’s curved surface in alternating panels of fritted glass and occasional iridescent aluminum. 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.”
The building is sited within a complex urban condition, where a fully functional Light Rail Transit Line crosses the site from above to below ground on a curved half-moon path, dividing Downtown and East Village. In response, the design lifts the main entry over the encapsulated train line. Gently terraced slopes rise up to the heart of the building, allowing for people arriving from every direction to interact with the library. Doubling as a portal and a bridge, the entry plaza heals the previously-split seam between the two neighborhoods and re-establishes visual and pedestrian connections across the site.”
Mandated around the concept of ‘Fun – Serious,’ the library programming locates the more active/noisier public activities to the lower floors while quieter study areas are situated on the upper levels. At street level, a series of multi-purpose rooms line the perimeter of the building, enhancing the connectivity between inside and outside. (Source Snøhetta )