The new Telus World of Science will be built on six hectares just north of the Calgary Zoo, as designs unveiled Monday revealed a swooping red roof sheltering a low-rise building.
The roof will be the centre's trademark, said Bill Peters, chief project officer, pointing out "subtle nuances between its form and the Rocky Mountains which lay to the west."
The building will also feature bright colours to represent Calgary's "young, vibrant and bold spirit."
The new location used to be a city dump with a slaughterhouse and a creosote plant just upstream along Nose Creek, but Peters said all environmental concerns have been taken care of.
"The environmental group in the city of Calgary has already remediated the site for us. The other thing that we've done is we've set the science centre back from Nose Creek as far as physically possible as far as the site permits," he said Monday.
Attendance at the current centre at 7th Avenue and 11 Street S.W. has more than doubled to 304,000 visitors annually in the past decade, and the building can't accommodate that growth.
The new centre, at 140,000 square feet, is designed to accommodate 500,000 visitors a year.
Construction is slated to start this fall on the $160-million project. The municipal and provincial governments have committed to half of the cost; $40 million has been requested from the federal government and another $40 million will be raised from corporate and private donations.
The new centre is scheduled to open in 2011.