Calgary’s new Central Library

Calgary’s new Central Library

Architect
Snøhetta
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Project Year
2018
Category
Libraries
Stories By
Snøhetta

Entro

Ferguson Corporation

Entuitive

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
© Michael Grimm
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct link
Tables, Seating, Desks and FilingTeknionInterpret, Variable, Teknion dna, Expansion Casegoods
Partitions - SL70NanaWallFolding Glass Walls
ManufacturersHerman MillerSayl Chair
Furniture - Reading Room TablesMöbius ObjectsReading Room Tables - New Central Library
Shade SailsSEFAR
CarpetInterface

Product Spec Sheet
Tables, Seating, Desks and Filing
Partitions - SL70
Manufacturers
Furniture - Reading Room Tables
Shade Sails
by SEFAR
Carpet

A triple-glazed façade composed of a modular, hexagonal pattern

Snøhetta as Architects

The Calgary Central Library is sited within a complex urban condition, where a fully operational 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.


The dynamic, triple-glazed façade is composed of a modular, hexagonal pattern that expresses the library’s aims to provide a space that invites in all visitors. Aggregated 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. 


More from the Architects:


Outdoor amphitheaters nestled into the terraces provide places for people to sit and for library programs to spill outside. Plantings that reference the native landscape draw Calgary’s mountains and prairies into the cityscape, and line the plaza’s surrounding streets with elms and aspen trees. 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.


The dynamic, triple-glazed façade is composed of a modular, hexagonal pattern that expresses the library’s aims to provide a space that invites in all visitors. Aggregated 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. Most importantly, the entire building volume is enclosed in the same pattern, allowing all sides to function as the “front” of the building. This visual vocabulary continues inside, expressed in the design of CPL’s new visual identity and wayfinding signage in the building, unifying the library’s goals of inclusivity.


The dynamic, triple-glazed façade is composed of a modular, hexagonal pattern that expresses the library’s aims to provide a space that invites in all visitors. Aggregated 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. Most importantly, the entire building volume is enclosed in the same pattern, allowing all sides to function as the “front” of the building. This visual vocabulary continues inside, expressed in the design of CPL’s new visual identity and wayfinding signage in the building, unifying the library’s goals of inclusivity.


The crystalline geometry of the façade is carved away to reveal an expansive wood archway that embraces visitors as they approach. Framing the entrance of the building, the form references the Chinook cloud arches common to the region. Created entirely of planks of western red cedar from nearby British Columbia, the double- curved shell is among one of the largest freeform timber shell in the world. Its organic form and texture bring the large building down to a tactile, intimate scale. Visible from the outside of the building is the main atrium, inviting people in.


As the archway continues into the lobby and atrium, the wood spirals upwards over 85 feet to a view of the sky through the oculus. Wood slats line the perimeter of the open atrium, shaped in plan like a pointed ellipse, serving as an orientation device for people to quickly grasp the circulation and organizational logic of the library. Inside, the concrete structure is left exposed and unfinished, hinting at the open-ended possibilities within. The rhythm of beams and columns are reminiscent of a stoa, the public, open-air colonnades of ancient Greek architecture that doubled as spaces of gathering and intellectual exchange. The rawness of the material palette is intended to give people the sense that the library is a place of engagement, rather than a sacrosanct repository for books.


Organized on a spectrum of ‘Fun’ to ‘Serious,’ the library program locates the livelier public activities on the lower floors, gradually transitioning to quieter study areas on the upper levels as one spirals upwards. At the street level, a series of multi-purpose rooms line the perimeter of the building, enhancing the connectivity between inside and outside. On the ground floor, a Children’s Library offers playhouses that provide space for crafts and drawing-based activities, early literacy programs, and a full-body indoor play experience.


Throughout the six floors, a variety of spaces provide for digital, analog, group, and individual interactions. At the uppermost level of the library is the Great Reading Room, conceived as a jewel box tucked within the library, which provides a space

for focused study and inspiration. Readers enter through a transitional space with softened light and acoustics. Within, vertical wood slats line the space to provide both privacy and visibility, defining an interior space without using solid walls. Natural light illuminates the space through the wood slats creating glancing sightlines between the atrium and western façade.


Throughout the six floors, a variety of spaces provide for digital, analog, group, and individual interactions. At the uppermost level of the library is the Great Reading Room, conceived as a jewel box tucked within the library, which provides a space

for focused study and inspiration. Readers enter through a transitional space with softened light and acoustics. Within, vertical wood slats line the space to provide both privacy and visibility, defining an interior space without using solid walls. Natural light illuminates the space through the wood slats creating glancing sightlines between the atrium and western façade.


Arriving at the northernmost point of the library, one finds oneself at the Living Room, overlooking the train line and the meeting point of the two neighborhoods. Filled with light and activity, this prow of the building will not only serve as a beacon to those outside, inviting them to enter, but also as a prospect for looking back out – a fitting vantage point to observe the impact of a building that hopes to re-energize the spirit of culture, learning, and community in Calgary.

Calgary Central Library

Entro as Consultants

The stunning new Calgary Central Library is an inspiring vision of what a public space can be. A landmark that transforms the streetscape, the library creates connections in a transitional area of the city by joining Calgary’s downtown with its East Village. 


Libraries, where users need to locate information as well as destination, present a unique opportunity for wayfinding. Colour-coded graphics on stack ends help users identify each genre, while a custom signage system built right into the shelving, allows flexibility as the collection shifts.


Entro’s program strikes a careful balance, creating the sense of a unified journey while differentiating between the variety of spaces and resources found in the library. The form and placement of the wayfinding signage encourages visitors to explore the library’s intuitive vertical orientation and many offerings.

Curtainwall and skylights

Ferguson Corporation as Curtain wall and Exterior Envelope Design Assist, Fabrication, and Installation, Interior Glazing Systems

Ferguson Corporation engineered, manufactured, assembled and installed the entire vertical curtainwall and skylights on the project. The vertical wall consisted of 462 unique unitized panels. Each panel was made up with white painted aluminum extrusions back sections with nominal dimensions of 100mm x 230mm. The unitized panels were infilled with 3 different types of triple glazed sealed unit glass and 3 different colors of 4mm composite panels from the exterior as well as 4mm composite panels attached to the interior portion of the unitized panels. All products are randomly placed around the building to create the exterior architectural look.


More from the Manufacturer:



The geometry of the building created many challenges from an engineering, manufacturing and assembly point of view. The layout of the entire envelope was done by geomatic datum points. With anchor points to the floor slab only every 3000mm this created abnormally large anchor loads back to the structure. Special attention was required when embeds were placed and cast into the concrete slabs. Also, with composite panels on both the inside and outside of each unitized panel, Ferguson created a number of custom built tables to be able to flip the oversized panels on the production line so we were able to access both sides of the panel.


There is one area within the building that is open to 2 floors. In this space Ferguson designed an interior solid steel fin 38mm thick x 400mm deep to support 2 floors of unitized panels. These steel fins acted as the structural support as well as sunshade baffles for the interior space.


 One type of the triple glazed vision glass panels incorporated a ceramic frit on the exterior glass that had a “double dot” (two different colors with an exact overlay).


The dot is white when viewed from the exterior and grey when viewed from the interior side which reduced the glare inside the building but also allows to see outside.

- total of 462 unique unitized panels

-        Average Unitized Panel size = 3000mm wide x 5500mm tall

-        Biggest Unitized Panel size = 3000mm wide x 9200mm tall weight ~ 1600 kg


Ferguson’s supply chain is made up of many specialty suppliers that we have worked with for many years. It is this supply chain that has help this project become such a success.

A new concrete structure that spans 12 metres

Entuitive as Engineers

A landmark civic building, the Calgary Central Library was constructed over an existing, busy light rapid transit (LRT) line that bisects the site. In order to span above the LRT line, Entuitive developed an innovative transfer system that creates the opportunity for a contiguous floor plate. This forms the basis for the encapsulation – a new concrete structure that clear spans approximately 12 metres across the existing tracks.


It is the first time in Calgary’s history that an active LRT line has been encased to enable an above-grade development project – an achievement that Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) referred to as “a real feat of engineering.”


More from the Engineers:


Named one of Architectural Digest’s 12 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2018, the New Central Library, located in the vibrant East Village downtown, is one of Calgary’s most important and distinctive cultural institutions, with signature design led by renowned international architecture firm Snøhetta.


The New Central Library occupies 278,000 ft2, including public spaces, and 40,000 ft2 for future library expansion. The building structure was built over Calgary’s busiest LRT line, which bisects the site and occupies approximately 40% of the site area. The library’s design puts a strong emphasis on public accessibility and community-oriented spaces, with 80% of the building, including collections areas, allocated to public space.

With more than 670,000 active members, the library aims to serve its community with passion and inspire life stories.


Challenge: Build a new landmark civic building with an anticipated high level of community engagement over an existing, busy LRT line that bisects the site on a radius with minimal disruption to its operation.


Solution: Entuitive developed a transfer system that creates the opportunity for a contiguous floor plate above the LRT line with a regular grid system that maximizes future flexibility. This forms the basis for the encapsulation – a new concrete structure that clear spans approximately 12 metres across the existing Calgary Transit South East corridor LRT tracks, just north of the exiting CP Rail tunnel. It is the first time in Calgary’s history that an active LRT line has been encased to enable an above-grade development project – an achievement that Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) referred to as “a real feat of engineering.”

CALGARY’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) as Client

In 2013, CMLC assembled the team to lead this important civic project: DIALOG (Calgary) and Snøhetta (NYC) as prime design consultants, with project management by Colliers and construction management by Stuart Olson. Among the long list of major milestones are 2014’s encapsulation of the LRT tracks—a feat of engineering enabling CMLC to build the library above an active LRT line.


Planning for the New Central Library began in 2004, when Calgary City Council committed $40 million to the project. In 2011, Council committed an additional $135 million from Calgary’s Community Investment Fund toward the new library. CMLC then contributed $70 million from their Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) to top up funding for the total project cost of $245 million. The project is designed to LEED Gold Standard. 


More from the Client:



CMLC PREPARES TO HAND OVER THE KEYS TO CALGARY’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY

City of Calgary and Calgary Public Library take possession as 5-year construction program wraps up

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)—the organization that has managed every aspect of the New Central Library’s design and construction since the project got underway in 2013—is thrilled to announce completion of its role as lead developer of the New Central Library that now adorns East Village. For CMLC, this marks the conclusion its most significant and complex project to date—a five-year construction program culminating today with the official handover of the building to the City of Calgary and Calgary Public Library to prepare for the public grand opening on November 1, 2018.


“For five years, and amid the dynamics that have challenged our city for the past few years, CMLC and our project team have kept this complex $245-million project moving forward, both on schedule and under budget,” says Michael Brown, CMLC’s president & CEO. “This incredible new facility makes use of a site that sat vacant for decades because of the LRT line bisecting it, a challenge that ultimately inspired the building’s dramatic design and gives Calgarians a state-of-the-art library, and also creates a vital connection from the west boundary of downtown and City Hall into East Village and the rest of east Calgary.


“I want to acknowledge and thank everyone involved for their dedication to the project: The City of Calgary for entrusting CMLC with the delivery of this landmark project for Calgary and for having the foresight to invest in facilities that benefit the entire community while keeping Calgary on the world stage; Calgary Public Library for working with us to ensure the design of the building dovetailed with its functional programming needs and of course for sharing our conviction that East Village is the best place for Calgary’s New Central Library; and, the entire project team for their tireless efforts in seeing this vision through to completion.” Providing Calgary Public Library with nearly a quarter million square feet (240,000 sq. ft.) of space—66 percent more than the existing central library that has served the city since the early 1960s—the New Central Library took shape during approximately 1.7 million construction hours, with as many as 200 workers on the site at any one time.


In 2013, CMLC assembled the team to lead this important civic project: DIALOG (Calgary) and Snøhetta (NYC) as prime design consultants, with project management by Colliers and construction management by Stuart Olson. Among the long list of major milestones are 2014’s encapsulation of the LRT tracks—a feat of engineering enabling CMLC to build the library above an active LRT line; an intensive structural steel program that offered early glimpses into the building’s dramatic architecture; and selecting thousands upon thousands of furniture pieces with a vast variety of users in mind.


Planning for the New Central Library began in 2004, when Calgary City Council committed $40 million to the project. In 2011, Council committed an additional $135 million from Calgary’s Community Investment Fund toward the new library. CMLC then contributed $70 million from our Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) to top up funding for the total project cost of $245 million. Designed to LEED Gold standard, the new library facility has 30 meeting spaces for community use free of charge, a 2,000 sq ft café, a huge children’s and teen area, a 350-seat performance hall, and 75,000 sq. ft. of outdoor gathering and seating space, among many other features.


Bill Ptacek, CEO of Calgary Public Library, says everyone in the organization shares his excitement about the day—now fewer than 50 days away—when the New Central Library opens its doors to an eagerly awaiting public. “The task of delivering a landmark library that will serve Calgarians for generations to come was enthusiastically embraced by CMLC, who’ve been tireless in their determination to get the job done precisely as promised,” says Ptacek. “For Calgary Public Library, this media event marks the final—and most significant—milestone in the building’s construction: the official ‘hand-over’ of the building to our organization to prepare for its opening on November 1, 2018. While the project team was building here, we’ve been busying building a great library system for the City, and all of what we’ve tested and learned will be on display when we open these doors. Calgarians will be amazed when they walk through this library.”


“Like its predecessor, which served Calgarians well for more than half a century, the New Central Library demonstrates our commitment to creating public spaces and facilities that create opportunity and are accessible to everyone,” adds Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Calgary’s public libraries served more than 6.4 million visitors last year—a number that’s been growing year over year. This has been an incredibly important and large project that CMLC has skillfully managed from start to finish (including being my five favourite words ‘on time and under budget’). The entire team and the partners who made it possible—my colleagues at The City of Calgary, Calgary Public Library and CMLC—have every right to be proud. In fact, all Calgarians can be proud of our new Central Library. Congratulations, all!”


This landmark destination for Calgarians (and visitors from around the world) to gather, learn, read, play, be challenged, relax, hang out and connect is on schedule to open on November 1, 2018.


NCL Building Facts

New Central Library by the Numbers:

-The New Central Library is a $245 million project, with $175 million committed from the City of Calgary and $70 million through CMLC’s Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

-Following an international RFQ and RFP process in 2013, the prime design consultants are Snohetta (NYC) and Dialog (Calgary), with construction management by Stuart Olson and project management by Colliers.

-Approximately 1.7 million labour hours were logged to complete the construction of the New Central Library.

-Over 1000 jobs were created through the 5-year project delivery and construction.

-Construction on the New Central Library began on May 7, 2014 with the groundbreaking of the LRT encapsulation.

-The New Central Library is 240,000 SF, approximately 66% larger than the old central library and along with approximately 75,000 SF of outdoor plaza space.

-The library offers more than 30 free meeting rooms and a 330-seat performance hall.

-Luke’s Café, a partnership between Luke’s Drug Mart and local Chef Eric Hendry will occupy the 2000 SF café space designed by FRANK Architecture.


Before vertical construction could begin on the New Central Library, the LRT Encapsulation created a strong foundation for which to build:

-The 150-metre-long encapsulation took 60,000 workman hours, including work by ENMAX, to complete.

-Over the 16-month encapsulation construction only 9 weekend LRT shutdowns and 23 non- revenue period shutdowns occurred.

-99% of the encapsulation construction was completed while the C-Train was in full service.


The complex building was intricately constructed:

-The wooden archway of the New Central Library is covered by 21,850 SF of steam bent western red cedar, sourced from British Columbia; fabricated and installed by StructureCraft.

-71 kilometers of Hemlock and White Oak wood was used to finish the interior atrium; fabricated and installed by local firm Executive Millwork.

-The iconic exterior ‘curtain wall’ was created using over 485 panels; fabricated and installed by local firm Ferguson.

-There are over 1600 tonnes of rebar in the building and over 11,000 cubic metres of concrete.

-There is a total of over 1700 tons of structural steel in the building, equivalent to the weight of over 1000 mid-size cars.

-The longest truss is 53 metres long and weighs 200 tonnes.


Through innovative design and technology, the New Central Library is a LEED Gold candidate, some of those characteristics include:

-Transit oriented development: the library is across the street from City Hall Station connecting visitors to both the Red and Blue lines and all four legs of the LRT system.

-The library is connected to ENMAX District Energy in East Village which provides a sustainable and efficient heating source.

-The library will use a water cistern system to capture storm water that will be used for landscape irrigation and utilizes a low flow plumbing to reduce water consumption.

-The façade is made of low iron triple glazed windows and the interior finishes are low VOC. Efficient LED lighting system with daylight sensors.


Public Art at the New Central Library:

-Two pieces of public art, designed by Christian Moeller, were commissioned for the New Central Library in 2015.

-‘TRIO’ is an exterior three-piece kinetic sculpture, two pieces are located on the western entrance and one piece at the eastern entrance, measuring 9 and 10 metres tall.

-‘FISH’ is an interior “book wall” that employs nearly 11,000 books whose spines, in 12 different colours, create the image of a fish and was installed with the help of local volunteers.

-The $2 million commission is inclusive of artist fees, fabrication, installation and maintenance.


To meet the variety of functional needs in the library, acoustics played an important role in the design of the building:

-All spaces adjacent the LRT encapsulation received vibration isolators and a double wall enclosure to separate them from the LRT encapsulation and to reduce noise transfer into the rest of the building.

-The entire Performance Hall is acoustically isolated, and the concrete slab floor is also isolated to ensure all noise transfer is mitigated.

-The ceiling of the NCL has acoustical baffles throughout to reduce echoes in the building.


The library is full of dramatic vast spaces; the furniture details were important consideration with the overall design plan to ensure visitors could optimize the larger library spaces.

-Nine different vendors were selected through an RFP process, eight of which are located here in Calgary.

--Contemporary Office Interiors

--Element Integrated Workplace Solutions

--Group Four Business Interiors

--Heritage Business Interiors

--ITAL Interiors Contract

--Kit Interior Objects

--McCrum’s Office Furnishings

--RGO Products.

--Inform Contract (Vancouver)


-The furniture detail in the building includes 446 tables and over 2300 places to sit.

-There are over 5000 light fixtures in the building.

-Approximately 90,000 SF of ceramic tile, 30,000 SF of wood flooring, and 30,000 SF of carpet were needed to complete the spaces.

-Local firm, Mobius Objects, designed and built the unique tables for the Great Reading Room.

Project team
Architects
Executive Architect & Executive Landscape Architect
Consultants
Engineers
Curtain wall and Exterior Envelope Design Assist, Fabrication, and Installation, Interior Glazing Systems
Electrical & Lighting
Exterior Wood Soffit Design Assist, Fabrication, and Installation:
Contractors
Planting and Soil
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