The architects chosen to create Calgary’s new $245-million central library say their first job is to figure out what needs go in the building — and then design the exterior around that.

  • Scroll through the images above for examples of buildings designed by Snøhetta and Dialog

A joint bid from American-Norwegian firm Snøhetta with Canadian firm DIALOG beat out 38 submissions from all over the world to design the library.

The library will be built next to city hall in the East Village, with an anticipated completion date of 2018, officials announced Tuesday.

Dykers and Adamson

Craig Dykers, left, a principal architect with Snøhetta, and Rob Adamson, a principal architect with Dialog, are designing Calgary's new central public library. (Dave Waddell/CBC)

“Many people think about a building first and foremost as its sculptural appearance,” said Craig Dykers, a principal architect with Snøhetta.

“But our interests at this time are just determining what factors are necessary to plan the interior in a way that will make it successful. The exterior appearance will grow from that discussion.”

Rob Adamson, a partner and principal architect with Dialog, said he’s excited to be doing the project as someone who grew up using the Calgary Public Library system.

“I’m very, very pleased to be part of changing the cultural landscape of Calgary,” Adamson said.

Both firms have designed high-profile public and private buildings in Canada and around the world.

Dykers’ portfolio includes the celebrated Library of Alexandria in Egypt, a project he took on early in his career.

“I was just recently out of school and handed a $350-million politically-sensitive project,” he said.

Dykers and Adamson said they expect to have a design for Calgary's new library in place by this time next year.