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.


Placement of final steel beam marks completion of building exterior and the start of FFE

(CALGARY, AB) • Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – the organization responsible for redeveloping East Village and lead developer of the city’s New Central Library has reached another major milestone in the library construction program - the completion of Phase 2 – the skeletal framework of the building.

“Phase 2 – the raising of the building – has been in full swing since fall 2015, when CMLC’s crews completed the encapsulation of the LRT line that bisects the library site,” says Michael Brown, President & CEO, CMLC.

“We’ve laid the foundation, completed the three vertical concrete cores within the library, completed most of the exterior cladding and, and now we are finishing the installation of the system of massive steel trusses that form the library’s structural skeleton. We are now set to launch into the next exciting phase of construction development – the interior finishing. Beginning at the bottom and working upward, we’ll install the building’s mechanical and electrical systems and complete the drywall, millwork, paint, flooring and so on.”

“The placement of the final steel beam marks a huge milestone for us – and for all Calgarians,” says Janet Hutchinson, Calgary Public Library’s Board Chair. “It completes the framework of a new library we’ve been talking about and dreaming about for decades. And it’s happening precisely when CMLC’s construction schedule said it would, which means we’re right on track for our planned grand opening in fall 2018.”

The beam that’s causing all the excitement belongs to one of the five cross-braced steel trusses that form the building’s skeleton. And it’s a biggie. Weighing in at over 9,000 kilograms (20,000 pounds, or 10 tons), the last steel beam measures 13.4 metres (44 feet) long by 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) wide by just over 1.2 metres (4 feet) high.

Mind you, by New Central Library standards, this final beam could be considered a lightweight. The library’s longest steel beam – part of truss #4 – is nearly double the length at 25.37 metres (83.25 feet). And the heaviest, also belonging to truss #4, tips the scales at 45,933 kilograms (101,265 pounds) – more than five times the weight of the final beam.

To commemorate this significant milestone in bringing a new library – and a new landmark – to the city centre, CMLC is inviting all Calgarians to come to East Village until 2 pm today and contribute to the creation of a New Central Library time capsule.

“It’s a ‘Time Capsule of Steel’,” says Susan Veres, CMLC’s Senior VP Strategy & Business Development. “We’re inviting all citizens of Calgary to sign and inscribe messages of inspiration, hope, education and literacy (and more) on this huge steel beam.

“We’ve also invited Micheline Maylor – Calgary’s new Poet Laureate – to read and inscribe the beam with a poem she has written for this momentous occasion. Her poem is titled ‘Someday look up to this: a library’.”

The last beam will be lowered into its place within Truss 5 and encapsulated by cement at the end of April after six levels of concrete slab have been poured and have cured. At that point all public messages will be forever cast and embedded within the structure of the building – a true time capsule of messages - for future generations of Calgarians to appreciate.

Following the placement of the beam the project team shifts into the third phase of the construction program – the fit and finishing phase. This phase, the most detailed, will take another 16 months to complete and involves the heaviest amount of trade workers. The Calgary Public Library is expected to move its team into the new library by early fall 2018 and will prepare for the grand public opening.

Imagined as a mixed-use, amenity-rich master-planned neighbourhood in the downtown core, East Village will be home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027. With local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island, the New Central Library, National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre, East Village has become a highly desirable neighbourhood in Calgary’s downtown core.