New Central Library: Making Connections

The start of construction on the New Central Library encapsulation is a big story. But there’s another, equally important aspect: the NCL will create a key link between downtown and East Village.

Before the East Village renewal, there was a big and somewhat desolate gap between City Hall on the edge of corporate downtown and Fort Calgary. Today, CMLC is ensuring that the space is being filled with new homes, green spaces, RiverWalk™ and other amenities for all Calgarians.

The New Central Library, just east of City Hall, has an important role as a connector between downtown and neighbourhoods to the east. Ellen Humphrey, deputy CEO of the Calgary Public Library, wants the New Central Library to be a portal that “provides an opportunity for people who want to pass through or beyond the existing municipal building into the wonderful world of East Village.”

Carolyn Haddock of MHPM, a project manager on the NCL, describes it as a “great front door” for everyone accessing East Village from downtown – and vice versa, of course.

For Janet Hutchinson, chair of the Calgary Public Library Board, the NCL is a link, a centrepiece and a destination. “So that if you live in Edgemont or Shaganappi or anywhere, coming here represents more than just a trip to the library.  It’s a trip to a really cool part of town,” she says.

Rob Adamson of DIALOG, the Calgary architecture firm working with Snøhetta on the NCL design, says a new attitude is emerging with the New Central Library – the idea of a cultural precinct that includes downtown, East Village and other areas, like arty Inglewood.  

The New Central Library is all that – and it’s a library too, of course. Bill Ptacek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library, says that the NCL will give East Village and downtown their own branch. But like all good connections, the energy goes both ways, and East Village will give the library its true community. “The library is a symbol of the investment in community,” he says. “It will be a place where people can come together.”

Literally connecting Calgarians to the New Central Library construction program started this week when CMLC, with the help of our good neighbours at Bow Valley College, installed a live construction camera on the southeast corner of the South Campus Building. The construction cam allows Calgarians a bird’s eye view of the site during the LRT encapsulation program, and will keep the city linked to the excitement of building construction as well. Get connected to the “cam” by clicking here.