From Architectural Record
In addition to housing a collection of more than 450,000 items and providing facilities for the expanded community programs that libraries often offer in this digital age, incorporating the rail line that bisected the site was a key competition mandate. The Snøhetta-DIALOG scheme used the requirement to full advantage. Taking their cues from the curve of the tracks, they developed an arcing concrete podium enclosing the trains, with a four-story, boat-like concrete-and-steel superstructure above.
Bill Ptacek, the public library system’s CEO, confirms that the team was selected in no small part because of its creative approach to the difficult site.
“We have no idea where libraries are headed in the next few decades,” admits Ptacek. For now, the new building is wildly popular, with 200,000 visitors in the first three weeks after opening. Hopefully, the Calgary Central Library’s ingenious urban response and inventive architecture will guarantee its popularity—and its relevance—well into the future.