Calgary's New Central Library Takes Two More Steps Toward Completion
Two more milestones achieved in library construction project
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – the organization tasked with overseeing every aspect of the New Central Library’s design and construction – has now completed removing the temporary LRT encapsulation structure it built in 2014/15 to enable construction of the library building, and the team is standing by to receive nearly three thousand tables and chairs sourced from manufacturers around the world through a carefully selected group of local vendors.
First, on February 4, CMLC began a multi-day construction program to remove the temporary encapsulation structure around the LRT line that travels underneath the New Central Library building. “Since September 2015, this temporary structure has been in place to protect the C-Train and its passengers from any overhead exterior construction risks. Now that the New Central Library’s exterior construction is complete, this structure is being removed,” says Michael Brown, president & ceo, CMLC. “Building atop an active train line was hailed as a first in Calgary downtown development and engineering when we built it. With the removal of the final temporary structure, you get an uninterrupted view of the train as it enters and exits the site and a real appreciation for how the design of the building seamlessly envelops the LRT operation.”
Meanwhile, work on the library’s interior spaces is proceeding according to plan. And thousands of pieces of furniture are now being prepared for move-in later this summer.
“Since September 2017, when the library construction project entered its final stage and our focus turned to the interior spaces, we’ve sustained our commitment to making sure every aspect of the New Central Library – from its stunning architectural vision to the granular details of the finishes and furnishings – upholds its promise to be a landmark library that meets the needs of all its users for many, many years to come,” adds Brown.
Among those granular details, the library’s tables and chairs are especially important.
“The furniture is what creates a human-scale experience in the library,” says Kate Thompson, CMLC’s vice president, Projects. “Furniture softens the big spaces and makes you feel cosy and welcome.” According to Thompson, the new library will have 27 types of tables and 31 different kinds of seats (including everything from seating for the nursing room to café chairs to stackable plastic seating to something appropriate for the grand traditional reading room at the top of the library). The budget for the tables and seating package is $1.7 million.
Ensuring that the New Central Library’s furniture feels “just right” called for a rigorous selection process spearheaded by the project’s prime design consultants, DIALOG and Snøhetta, which began by identifying product options that would meet the functional requirements for the library’s various areas and support the building’s overall aesthetic. The design team then worked with CMLC and Calgary Public Library (CPL) to test sample furnishings and refine the selections – a process that had to consider functionality, durability, ease of use, maintenance, comfort, warranty, availability and price.
After issuing a Request for Proposals in October 2017, CMLC awarded the seating and tables package to nine different vendors, eight of which are located here in Calgary. They include Contemporary Office Interiors, Element Integrated Workplace Solutions, Group Four Business Interiors, Heritage Business Interiors, ITAL Interiors Contract, Kit Interior Objects, McCrum’s Office Furnishings and RGO Products. The one out-of-town vendor – Inform Contract – is based in Vancouver.
“The quality and design of this furniture adds to the excitement of the building and these pieces help to create an atmosphere that supports great experiences,” says Bill Ptacek, ceo, Calgary Public Library. “The variety and range of products that our local suppliers have brought in reflect the world-class design of the building and we can’t wait to invite Calgarians inside on November 1, 2018.”
This landmark destination for Calgarians (and visitors from around the world) to gather, learn, read, play, be challenged, relax, hang out and connect is on schedule to open in November 2018.