NCL Furniture Selection Underway


It’s late 2018. You’ve been wowed by the graceful and graphic exterior of the NCL. You’ve walked into the soaring space of the interior. You’ve found your book and brought your phone and laptop. So where are you going to sit?

CMLC Senior Project Manager Carolyn Haddock and her team have spent much of 2017 thinking about just that. “The furniture is what creates a human-scale experience in the library,” she says. “Furniture softens the big space and makes you feel cozy and welcome.”

Carolyn, along with others from Calgary Public Library and the NCL project team, is choosing furniture for library-goers of every kind and capacity from 1 to 101 years old. They’re considering the shape of table corners, the number of outlets to charge devices, the possibility of adjustable heights, the tabletop finishes, the choice between tables with legs or pedestals (mostly the latter; they’re more accessible for wheelchairs).

And chairs! There are some 17 different categories of chairs to choose, more than 2,000 in all, 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 chairs need to withstand daily wear and tear for years. And they have to be as beautiful as the library in which they live.     

But chairs are first and foremost about people, and Carolyn is testing on sitters of all kinds. 

Little kids like bright colours and shapes in their size so that no one else can fit into them, but they also want chairs big enough for them and a caregiver. Older children absolutely don’t want their chairs to look like kids’ chairs. Teenagers want chairs that look cool, but they don’t sit in traditional postures; they want to be able to curl their feet up off the floor. For older people, chairs with arms are important so they can lift from and lower themselves into them.

“Everyone has an opinion about furniture,” says Carolyn. “And they’re all right.” 


CMLC invites Calgarians to follow the ‘final chapters’ of NCL construction over the next 12 months

(CALGARY, AB) • Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – lead developer of Calgary’s New Central Library in the reimagined, re-emerging neighbourhood of East Village – is thrilled to announce that Calgary’s long-awaited, much-anticipated New Central Library is now just 12 months away from opening its doors!

At the end of September, the New Central Library building became fully ‘weather-tight’ and construction moved indoors for the ‘fit and finish’ work that will bring the new facility to completion. This includes everything from installing flooring and shelving to constructing 40+ meeting rooms to selecting furniture and audio-visual equipment.

“Over the next year – the final year of a construction program that officially broke ground in May 2014 – the finishing elements of the building will come together,” says Michael Brown, CMLC president and CEO. “From the completion of the library’s interior spaces, to the furniture choices and public art installations, to the selection of a food and beverage operator, it’s all about ensuring the new building accommodates a vast variety of programming needs and delivers a library experience for Calgarians that exceeds the expectations of the Calgary Public Library and City of Calgary.”

For the Calgary Public Library team, the next year involves a robust planning process to prepare their operational systems and staff for the addition of this new facility into the overall library system. “Over the next 12 months, our library staff will be working hard to create an innovative and truly accessible experience at our new Central Library,” says Janet Hutchinson, Chair, Calgary Public Library Board of Directors. “To ensure the library meets the needs of all our users, we are conducting trial periods throughout our library system to test enhanced customer service processes, evaluating various furniture pieces and refining our program offerings so that when we open the doors next year, the New Central Library exceeds everyone’s expectations.”

The project team has spent much of 2017 planning for the final phase of construction. In this phase, doors are being hung, carpet is being laid and meeting rooms are being built.  A $21 million furnishings budget has been allocated, of the $245 million building program, to ensure the building is properly equipped to deal with the one million+ visitations expected each year.

This includes all the furniture for the staff and public areas, all the AV equipment, all the computers, all the library shelves, the materials handling equipment, and interior and exterior signage. There are over 2,200 chairs and seats; 446 tables, and 30 bookable meeting rooms being coordinated.

While the project team, construction crews and the library’s design team focus on the granular details of fit and finish, Mayor Naheed Nenshi can’t help but get excited about a much bigger picture taking shape in downtown Calgary’s east end.

“Calgary’s east end is rising, and evolving into a cultural and entertainment district unlike anywhere else in the City”, says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “You needn’t look further than East Village to see how strategic placemaking efforts can transform a neighbourhood and now the stage has been set to create a downtown district pulsing with culture, entertainment and innovation. And in this picture of Calgary’s Cultural & Entertainment District, the New Central Library has a starring role.”



CMLC is set to shepherd construction through its final stages for Fall 2018 opening

(CALGARY, AB) • Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – lead developer of Calgary’s New Central Library in the re-emerging neighbourhood of East Village – is celebrating yet another significant step forward in the construction of the library, with construction proceeding on schedule for the planned Grand Opening in fall 2018.

The New Central Library is now officially ‘weather-tight’, which means the building is fully enclosed, its exterior shell is materially complete and the exciting final stage of construction is now underway. 

“After years of extensive planning and more than three years since the start of construction, our New Central Library is now just one year away and one step closer from that thrilling day when it opens its doors to all Calgarians,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Now that the building exterior is essentially complete, the spectacular design and personality of the building is on display for all to see. With each new milestone in the library building’s construction program, Calgarians see more and more clearly how dynamic and dramatic it will be – a landmark every Calgarian can be proud of.”

CMLC has managed every aspect of this major project since construction began in May 2014 with the encapsulation of the LRT tracks that bisect the New Central Library site.

During spring and summer 2017, CMLC oversaw the completion of all roofing and installation of the building’s innovative curtain wall. Construction crews also made significant progress in the challenging installation of the wood soffit archway that shapes the library’s open outdoor passageway – a key design feature that creates a visual and pedestrian connection between East Village to the east and Calgary’s downtown core to the west.

In addition, this week the NCL building will officially connect to District Energy, an important component to the building’s pursuit of LEED gold certification.  Crews are working on the exterior hardscaping around the library building, installing foundations for planters and other below-grade infrastructure for the final landscaping work that will be completed in 2018; the library’s administration areas are also nearly complete.  CMLC is also managing the public realm improvement program along 3rd Street SE that will create a seamless interaction between the library’s public entrance and pedestrian environment along the west side of the building.

“The fact that we’ve kept such a complex construction project on schedule and on budget is a real testament to the quality and commitment of the entire New Central Library project team,” says Michael Brown, CMLC’s President & CEO. “Our design team of Snøhetta and DIALOG, Calgary Public Library, the City of Calgary and our team at CMLC have seamlessly managed a robust and complicated construction program.

“As we enter the next – and final – stage of library construction, we intend to give the same attention to detail to the project to ensure we deliver a New Central Library that lives up to its promise and meets the needs of all its future users.”

The focus of the final stage of New Central Library construction is on completing the building’s interior spaces. This includes everything from installing flooring and shelving to constructing 40+ meeting rooms to selecting furniture and audio-visual equipment.

In October 2017, CMLC will initiate a procurement process (Request for Proposals) for interior furniture packages to furnish the New Central Library’s meeting rooms and public spaces.

“To make sure the furnishings measure up to this phenomenal facility, we’ve already been engaging Calgary Public Library staff and others to help evaluate furniture options,” says Bill Ptacek, CEO Calgary Public Library. “We’ve put some sample pieces in other community libraries so the design team and future users of the New Central Library can assess furniture based on comfort, durability and aesthetics as well as the appropriate placement for various styles. We’ve even invited teens to try out furniture for the teen area in the new library.”

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 fall 2018.


CMLC construction crews begin installing 125,000 pounds of wooden soffits   

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – lead developer of Calgary’s New Central Library in the re-emerging neighbourhood of East Village – is celebrating yet another significant step forward in the construction of the library, with construction proceeding on schedule for the planned Grand Opening in fall 2018. 

“Ever since our prime architectural team of Snøhetta and DIALOG began to share its designs for the New Central Library, we’ve been fully confident that the facility will be world-class in every regard,” says Lyle Edwards, Chairman of CMLC’s Board of Directors. “With each new milestone in the library building’s construction program, we see ever more clearly just how dynamic and dramatic the New Central Library will be – a landmark building that every Calgarian can be proud of.”

Last week, CMLC’s construction crews began installing another prominent feature of the new library’s inspiring design: the curved wooden soffit panels that form the building’s archway. 
“The library building rises up over an open passageway at the heart of the site, creating both a visual connection and a pedestrian connection between East Village to the east and Calgary’s downtown core to the west,” explains Kate Thompson, VP Projects, CMLC. “Framed by wood-clad arches that reference the Chinook arch cloud formations so common to southern Alberta, the passageway is opening up an exciting new outdoor civic space within the city.”

Fabricated by StructureCraft, a timber design and construction company located in Delta, BC, the wood soffit makes up part of the ‘skin’ of the building – an architecturally striking feature of curved western red cedar battens flowing along the ceiling and down to the walls of the open passageway.

While every material chosen for the library contributes to the building’s overall aesthetic, each also has a specific function that goes far beyond its looks. The New Central Library’s western red cedar, which has been harvested from sustainably managed forests in British Columbia, is lightweight and naturally resistant to decay, making it perfect for exposed outdoor applications like the library’s archway.

Much like a ship’s hull, the cedar planks are secured to a Douglas fir framework, constructed and delivered in manageable panels. The panels are being suspended from the library structure with steel rods and cables. The New Central Library’s design calls for approximately 170 individual panels weighing, on average, 750 pounds (340 kilograms) each. That adds up to more than 125,000 lb (57,000 kg) of wood!

“A feature such as this wooden soffit necessitates very careful attention to detail,” says Jean-Baptiste Bachmann, Project Manager, StructureCraft Builders Inc. “When you consider the extreme weather conditions the wood will have to endure, the fine knife-edge interface with the glass façade and the fact that the soffit is prefabricated in panels that need to fit perfectly together on site, you have a considerable challenge. A dimensionally complex project like this has depended on close coordination between the design and fabrication teams.”

British Columbia's official tree, the western red cedar has been called “the cornerstone of Northwest Coast aboriginal culture,” as it has great spiritual significance. Coastal people used all parts of the tree. They used the wood for dugout canoes, house planks, bentwood boxes, masks and tools such as arrow shafts and paddles. From the inner bark they made rope, clothing, and baskets, while the long arching branches were twisted into rope and baskets. It was also used for many medicines.