NewsOnline exclusive

New Central Library captures hearts, blows minds

After years of design and construction, Calgarians finally experienced the gleaming interior of the new Calgary Central Library.

The novel exterior of the $245-million, four-level building, located at 800 3 St SE where downtown Calgary interfaces with the East Village, was apparent for over a year to passersby.

Following 750 days of construction, the doors finally opened to the public on Nov. 1 in a boisterous grand opening, providing people a chance to behold the curvaceous interior design and witness how the space has been used functionally.

The new Central Library is a gift to all Calgarians, said Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell.

“Now it is time to present our gift – this Fabergé egg with a world of wonders inside – to the people of Calgary,” said Farrell.

“She is the love letter to our city.”

The new Central Library in Calgary on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

The new building will help Calgarians dream big and develop the community, said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“This building is our manifesto,” he said.

Nenshi thanked the people involved in the project, including “the women and men who have been on the construction site every day, who used their skills, their hands, and their strong backs to build a modern cathedral.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi delivers remarks at the official grand opening ceremony of the new Central Library (Photo by Sean Feagan)

Mayor Nenshi interviewed at the new Central Public Library, Nov. 1, 2018. Photo by Albert Low

It was the character of the people involved that made the new Central Library possible, said Craig Dykers, architect from Snøhetta, the Norway-based firm that helped design the building.  

“This building was somehow built by kindness, generosity, and love,” he said.

“You can feel it in everything here.”

A large crowd explores the interior of the new Central Library (Photo by Sean Feagan)

The building features a performance hall, a children’s library, recording studios, community meeting areas, and a large outdoor plaza, among other amenities.

Designers of the library gathered perspectives and opinions from over 16,000 Calgarians, said Rob Adamson, principal of DIALOG, a Calgary-based firm that also contributed to the design process. 

“Before we embarked on [the] design journey, there was one thing that we heard loudly and clearly from the citizens of Calgary: Calgarians love their library,” he said.

“They love their central library, and they love their library system.”

Calgarians provided a vision of a new library that offered more than just a place to store books, or plug in a laptop to access the Internet, explained Adamson.

“We were told that Calgarians wanted a building that enhanced their community – it was a city-building project that was innovated, that was visionary, and was something they could be proud of.”

“What came out of [that vision] is what you see here today.”

The new Central Library opens in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. It is located in East Village and it is a 245 million project.This library is the space where people can meet each other and learn new things in a very special way. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Ten month old Simone Heinrich crawling in the kids area at the new Central Library in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. She came to attend the opening ceremony with her mom. The Central Library is a 245 million dollar project, but it’s a lot more than just books and a quiet place to sit. This library is space where people can meet each other and learn new things in a very special way. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Greyson Trotz, 8, and his father Bruce Trotz are browsing through the books at the new Central Library in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. They came to attend the opening ceremony and check out the features that the new library offers to the public. It is a 245 million dollar project, but it’s a lot more than just books and a quiet place to sit. This library is a space where people can meet each other and learn new things in a very special way. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Alex Feng, 4, slides on the edge of the window at the new Central Library in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. The new public library, which opened today in East Village is a 245 million project, but it’s a lot more than just books and a quiet place to sit. This library is space where people can meet each other and learn new things in a very special way. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Keegan Starlight and Kalum Teke Dan are working on the art installation at the new Central Library in Calgary on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. They are two of the six Six Indigenous artists to create installations at new Central Library. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Shaikh family welcome gallery at the new Central Library in Calgary on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The new Central Library belongs to all Calgarians. It is an unparalleled place with opportunity for everyone.(Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

Keegan Starlight works on the art installation at the new Central Library in Calgary on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. He is one of the six Six Indigenous artists to create installations at new Central Library. (Photo by Eka Barnovi-MacNicol/The Press)

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