//Projects in progress


For its New Central Library (NCL), the City of Calgary chose a prime location: one block east of City Hall in the burgeoning cultural hotspot of East Village. Encapsulation of the LRT tracks that bisect the library site – the necessary first step toward delivering the NCL – began in May 2014 and is progressing well, setting the stage for what promises to be one of the world’s most dynamic and inspired public libraries (scheduled to open in 2018).

A space for people to think, dream, explore and become, the New Central Library’s vision is “To Inspire All.”

Experience the New Central Library

Providing approximately 240,000 sq ft of usable library space – 66% more than the existing downtown library – the NCL will be home to a physical collection of approximately 600,000 books, special programs and spaces for children and teens, a technology commons and laboratory for innovation, a centre that supports community integration and advancement through skills development, and much more.

The monumental task of to delivering a landmark library that will serve Calgarians for generations to come has been enthusiastically embraced by three highly engaged and committed partners: Calgary Public Library, CMLC and the City of Calgary.

The project

Planning for the New Central Library began in 2004, when Calgary City Council committed $40 million to the project. In 2011, council committed an additional $135 million from Calgary’s Community Investment Fund toward the NCL. CMLC then contributed $70 million from our Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) to top up funding for the total project cost of $245 million,

As the NCL is opening up a vital connection between downtown Calgary and East Village, it’s transforming “a trip to the library” into “a trip to a really cool place.” See how Calgary’s new library is creating connections that matter: 

Library: Making connections

Project Team

Prime Design Consultant Team • Snøhetta + DIALOG



Project Management • MHPM


Construction Management • Stuart Olson 


Challenges & 

NCL: Challenges and Opportunities

The NCL site is bisected by two significant corridors: an active LRT line that moves in a north-south arc across the site and the 8th Avenue pedestrian corridor from west to east. While this may seem like an odd challenge, it’s actually an opportunity – something the library’s prime design consultants call a “proble-tunity.” See how they’re using the site’s unique attributes to create a dynamic and highly functional New Central Library.

Final Design

NCL: Final Design Details

The New Central Library will be a landmark building that exemplifies design excellence and a community space that inspires thought, collaboration and conversation. In this 3D animation of the final architectural design, you’ll see exactly what we mean by “landmark” and “inspiring.”


CMLC is leading the New Central Library’s development team. MHPM, the NCL’s project managers, prepared the following timetable for construction milestones:

  • Q4 2013 - Architect Engaged

  • Q1-2 2014 - Concept Design

  • Q3 2014 - Schematic Design and Class C Estimate

  • Q4 2015 - Design Development and Class B Estimate

  • Q3 2015 - LRT Encapsulation Completion

  • Q3 2015 - Foundation Tender

  • Q3 2015 - Structure and Exterior Cladding Tender

  • Q4 2015 - Interior Construction Tender

  • Q4 2015 - Landscape Tender

  • Q4 2018 - Construction Complete

LRT Encapsulation

The City of Calgary and Calgary Public Library selected an East Village site just east of City Hall to house the New Central Library – a site as unique as it is challenging. This time-lapse shows how the LRT line was encapsulated to prepare the site for vertical development.

LRT Encapsulation

NCL Public Art

Both the Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) and the East Village Master Plan envision arts and culture as the heart of East Village. Considered the ‘software’ that gives a neighbourhood its true soul and character, public art and a vibrant cultural scene are critical to the area’s success.

CMLC is committed to further establishing an arts presence in East Village and building a legacy of public art installations and programs of local, national and international significance. For the New Central Library, more than $2 million has been allocated to two important public art initiatives, both managed under CMLC’s robust Art in the Public Realm program for East Village.

To surprise, delight and inspire visitors even before the new library opens its doors, CMLC has commissioned local artists to create temporary installations for the construction fencing along 3rd Street SE between 7th and 9th Avenues. The first , by local artist Serena Malyon, went up in October 2014 and will remain for approximately 18 months; the second installation will occur in July 2016 and remain for approximately 28 months.

The second dimension of Art in the Public Realm for the NCL involves creation of permanent public art to beatify, enliven and activate various spaces within the new library complex.

In July 2014, CMLC issued a Request for Qualifications inviting all locally, nationally and internationally qualified artists to apply. Working with a budget of $2 million, the successful artist or artist team will work with CMLC and the design team of Snøhetta and DIALOG to determine the best location for public art within the library complex.

The RFQ received an astonishing 217 proposals from places as far away as New Zealand. Our volunteer selection committee reviewed submissions and short-listed six artists and the selected artist will be announced in 2017. The selection committee includes members of:  Calgary Arts Development, Calgary Public Library, Alberta College of Art and Design, East Village Inglewood community representative, and Glenbow Museum. Non-voting members include CMLC, City of Calgary Public Art Department and Dialog.




Construction began: Sept. 30 2015

Project Cost: $245 million

Construction Camera

NCL Project Newsletter