Library Futures

The New Central Library, Calgary, Canada - Snøhetta

The New Central Library, Calgary, Canada – Snøhetta

Thanks to Phaidon for these images and accompanying story that leads us to believe that libraries are less endangered than we might otherwise have thought, a story about a beautiful new library:

Snøhetta unveils ‘floating’ library design in Canada

Calgary design will feature arches inspired by cloud formations and will house over half-a-million books

As the Frankfurt Book Fair opens this week work has already begun in Calgary, Alberta, to construct a home for 600,000 books directly above a transport hub. The New Central Library by Norwegian starchitects Snøhetta will sit at the intersection of Downtown Calgary and the cultural hotspot that is East Village.

Trains on the light rail track will chug along tracks that appear out of the base of the slim, curved structure, with the library ‘lifted’ above the public transport below. A covered plaza has been created by cutting away the ground levels of the building, as if slicing through the corner of a pat of butter.


The curved wall and ceiling that the slicing creates will have wood panelling, in contrast to the geometric shapes of clear and fritted glass of the upper façade, which allow some daylight in.

“The entry, framed by the wood-clad arches that reference the ‘chinook’ arch cloud formations common to Alberta (low dense cloud formations of warm air) becomes a gateway to neighbouring communities and provides a new outdoor civic spaces within the city,” says the team.

The vast main floor will have a sky-lit atrium, where more curved timber of the floors above is on view. The new building, which should be ready to accept visitors in 2018, is an attempt to accommodate the city’s fast-growing number of inhabitants – now up to 1.2m – along with its 45,000-strong student population and the 120,000 workers who commute in…

Read the whole story here.

2 thoughts on “Library Futures

  1. Great architecture and great to see that libraries have a secure future, they have an important role to play in society (I am a retired Branch librarian myself).

  2. We have a very progressive mayor in Calgary, but, sadly, there will be a day when he will move on and we will go back to right-wing nut-jobs who only want to build roads, roads, roads for their cars, cars, cars. FYI, Alberta is the oil and gas capitol of Canada (i.e. oil sands). Look up the Wildrose Party if you want to see the kind of people that live in Alberta. It’s becoming a very scary place to live.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s