Calgary’s new central public library will be designed by a U.S.-based architectural firm in collaboration with a Canadian company, officials announced Tuesday.
A selection committee chose a combined bid from Snøhetta, which has offices in New York and Oslo, and DIALOG, a Canadian firm with locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto, to design the $245-million library in the East Village.
"I am very grateful for the scrupulous efforts of the selection committee, who were unwavering in their commitment to find the right team for this important civic project,” said Michael Brown, president of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), which is in charge of redeveloping the East Village.
The committee — which included members of the Calgary Public Library, City of Calgary officials and independent architectural consultants Ian Chodikoff and Jim Barnes of Foster + Partners — made the final choice after narrowing 38 international submissions to a shortlist of four firms.
The new library will be constructed directly east of the Calgary Municipal Building, straddling the LRT tracks where it enters a tunnel, a feat that will require a creative architectural solution.
"We're ready and incredibly excited to get going," said Craig Dykers, a founding partner of Snøhetta.
The firm has designed several high-profile projects, including the National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York City and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.
"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."
A design will be unveiled next year as site preparation gets underway. The library is expected to be finished by 2018.
MHPM has been chosen as the project managers for the library and Stuart Olson Dominion Construction will build it.
City council first committed $40 million toward the project in 2004.
In 2011, the city committed an additional $135 million from the community investment fund. CMLC’s board of directors also voted earlier this year to contribute the balance needed for the $245-million project.
“The new central library is a landmark project for Calgary and represents the single largest investment in a public cultural facility since the 1988 Olympic Games,” Coun. Druh Farrell said in a written statement.
The current Central Library at 616 Macleod Trail S.E. was built in two phases in 1963 and 1974 to serve a population of less than 400,000. The new one will be two-thirds larger.