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New iconic library

Located in a city where more than half of its residents are active library cardholders, the new Central Library in Calgary has expanded its size by 66% to accommodate more visitors and their various library needs. The library now has an area of 22,000 square metres spread over four floors with 7,000 metres of shelf space and 450,000 books and collections.

The library is thought to be one of the world’s most dynamic and inspired public libraries. It has become a popular destination for residents across the city that use the space to read, study and socialize. It is a community centre, where people from different groups can come together.

In close cooperation designers Snøhetta and Dialog have delivered the project from conception of the design to completion. The four-storey building is designed to LEED Gold standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – ratings on environmentally friendly buildings). Constructed over the light rail transit (LRT) tracks the iconic arch shape building provides a new connection between Downtown Calgary and the developing East Village neighbourhood.

Visitors arrive into a huge skylit atrium and stair hall from which you can see all the main levels and all the way up to the sky. The wooden curved material provides a warm aesthetic and helps to control the acoustics in the atrium.
The new library facility has plentiful reading and learning spaces, a huge children’s and teen area, more than 30 meeting spaces, a café, a 350-seat performance hall and 7,000 square metres of outdoor gathering and seating space.

We have delivered our Slimline shelving system that has been adapted to meet the requirements of both the architects and the library. The shelving is designed to be intentionally low so that most users can see over the top. LED light is installed on every single shelf with almost invisible fixture and wiring. The wooden parts of the shelving are made with non-added formaldehyde contributing to the library’s LEED Gold status.

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