Library Voice

The future site of Calgary's New Central Library was bookmarked by dozens of well-informed (and very excited) bibliophiles who gathered November 5 for a highly-anticipated announcement of the prime design consultant on the landmark project.

Months of mystery ended happily ever after with the news that the architectural team of Snøhetta (based in Oslo and New York) and DIALOG (a Canadian firm with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto) had been chosen to design the NCL’s new East Village home. Only the best will do when you love your libraries as much as we do.

As the curious gathered on the parcel of land marking the southwest corner of East Village, the chilly bite of the morning and the snow crunching underfoot was tempered by a brilliant burst of sun reflecting off the blue glass of City Hall. The crowd learned that, along with the design team selection, all funding for the $245 million project has been secured, making the library fully funded. So keep that library card current: as the largest single investment in a public cultural building since the 1988 Olympic Games, the New Central Library (fully two-thirds larger than the existing facility) is expected to be open for learning and discovery by 2018.

The architectural team will face a few challenges fitting the library into a somewhat complicated site. Flanked by City Hall to the west and straddling the C-train line and tunnel, the site of the new library will require considerable design ingenuity. Good thing Snøhetta and DIALOG wrote the book on amazing libraries: Snøhetta, has designed the stunning Alexandria Library in Egypt, the James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University and the Ryerson Student Learning Centre in Toronto.

"We're ready and incredibly excited to get going," said Craig Dykers, Founding Partner of Snøhetta. "With our local partner, DIALOG, we bring a unique set of local, national and international experiences which will guide our thinking for Calgary's New Central Library."

“I am really excited about the New Central Library,” one library lover declared. “I have been an East Villager for six years, and this is exactly what we need here.” It was one topic that everybody could agree upon. "We are so ready for this now,” said another resident. “We have so many of the new roadways and widened sidewalks in place. It's time to bring the library here.”

Relocating Central Library to East Village will cement the neighbourhood's growing reputation as a cultural corridor. The new library will be a destination for everybody in the city, not only serving Calgary’s growing population but also serving the more than 140,000 workers and students who travel downtown every day.