Calgary Central Library: 25 Amazing Facts!

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Calgary Central Library

Book worms must have heard of the Calgary central library. If you haven’t, then you are missing the opportunity of witnessing the futuristic library of Calgary.

The city of Calgary houses the innovative Calgary Central Library. It is not one of those typical public libraries with an old building and dusty bookshelves. In Calgary, Alberta, this iconic building looks like a building that came from a sci-fi fiction movie.

For doubling up your amusement, know for now that there’s a light rail track that passes from below the Calgary central library; yes, that’s quite interesting. But that also gives birth to the thought that rail track within the library must create a disturbance, but for your surprise, that is not the case.

May you be a nerdy guy who loves roaming around in the public libraries or may you be a fan of fantastic architectural buildings, the Calgary central library is the place for you. But, apart from its unique and attractive appearance, there are lots of other facts that attract people towards this iconic library.

So for a better understanding of this human-made wonder, read the full article. Lets’ explore some amazing facts about the Calgary central library.

25 Amazing Facts about Calgary Central Library!

The Calgary Central Library, which looks like a 21st-century wonder today, but is not as new as it seems. This central library has a history that dates back to around 1908.

1. Established by the Prime Minister

The prime minister of Canada established the Calgary Central library before she knew it was going to be one. Established in 1908 by R.B Bennett as the board of trustees, the library came to be the first public library of Alberta and started functioning in the year 1912.

2. Its a replica of another library in Massachusetts

The building was built with the help of Andrew Carnegie, who was a known businessman and contributed a significant donation to the library. It is built out of striking Sandstone, which is found locally in the city. The main building was a replica of another library present in Massachusetts.

3. Calgary Central Library is just a branch of the library system prevalent since the 1960s.

This new Calgary Central Library is the flagship of the branch of the library system that existed here from the 1960s. In 2018, this previous branch was replaced with this futuristic library.

4. Planning started in 2004

The plan on bringing some changes and replacement of the existing old library started in 2004, after years of research on a suitable location and after rejecting three or four finer locations in Calgary; the land that was adjacent to the municipal building of Calgary was finalized in 2011.

5. The budget was $245 million

After the area finalization, the funding was collected from 3 different sources, and a budget of $245 million was allocated for its construction.

6. The design was finalized through a competition

In the year 2013, a design competition was organized in Calgary, and two companies won; one was Snøhetta, which is an international architecture company, and another was DIALOG, which is a Canadian architecture company.

Calgary Central Library: 25 Amazing Facts! 1

Elsie Hui, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7. The library sprawls across 75,000 square feet

The library has been constructed in a humongous area of 75,000 square feet, which also has an entry plaza and an amphitheater that encourages the organization of events and programs here. The interior of the library is spread in the area of 22,000 square feet with a public plaza or a city hall.

8. Trains pass beneath the building

There is a fully functional light rail line crosses the site from beneath the building, which divides the East Village from Downtown.  It is said that the inspiration for this building’s design and shape was gained from the Chinook cloud arches formations that happen in Alberta.

9. The hexagonal glasses represent the collective community

The building has scattered modular hexagonal pattern made from transparent fritted glass, which may appear like an open book or enclosed houses. Still, these are not just patterns; these represent the idea of a collective community.

10. You can see the interior of the library from all sides and angles

The Calgary central library is designed in such a way that no matter from where you cross, from the train, or the other side of the road, you can see the interiors of this stunning library, as it has been designed to be visible from all angles and sides. The unique design has allowed all the sides of this library to act as a front door or entrance.

11. All the furniture is made from Red Cedar

The interiors of this library reveal extensive woodwork that is done entirely from the red cedar planks of wood that are found in British Columbia, which makes it the most massive formed timber shell in the world.

12. What is inside the library?

The Calgary central library has three floors in total. The ground floor is used for events, which can be used by the public, while the other two floors are the quieter study areas for serious study. There’s also a children’s library and many playhouses present inside the library.

13. The glass ceiling allows ample natural light

The Calgary central library is oval-shaped when looked from the aerial view. The magnificent glass ceiling of the library with wood slats grabs the attention of the visitors because it allows natural skylight in the building, and the stairways are along the atrium, the whole interior leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

calgary central library

Kelapstick, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

14. The building’s impressive architecture improved the city’s image

The fun fact about Calgary central library is that after its completion in 2018, it is said that the building and its impressive design has acted as a potential strength in improving the image of the city for the 2026 Winter Olympics game bidding.

15. A retired Canadian astronaut inaugurated the library

The new central library was inaugurated by the retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, the celebration of events continued for four long days, and over 52,000 Calgary public and people from around the world visited the library during the time.

16. The library was featured in Architectural Digest

The building has received many awards and recognition from the time of its finishing; in 2018, it was mentioned as one of the ‘Best 12 Buildings’ by the Architectural digest, which is an American monthly magazine.

17. The library won the ‘Architecture Award’ in 2020

It went on to win the ‘Architecture Award’ from the American Institute of Architect in 2020. In the same year, it won an award for ‘Outstanding Architectural Design’ by the American Institute of Architects, New York and moving on to receiving recognition from reputed organizations, like the American Library Association, Library Leadership, and Management Association in the year 2019 and even a Library Building Award.

18. Calgary Central Library was awarded Global Design Merit in 2019

The list of awards keeps getting longer with winning the Global Design Merit Award in 2019, which was awarded by the Society for Experiential Graphic for its unique creativity and thought-provoking ideas.

19. Widespread recognition

The Central Library has won the Excellence Award from the Canadian Consulting Engineers and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies in 2019; and the award for Building Communities by the CISC Alberta Steel Design Award, and several others like the Canadian Architect Award of Merit and Azure Magazine’s Best Canadian Architecture of the Decade.

Calgary Central Library: 25 Amazing Facts! 2

Bernard Spragg. NZ, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

20. The Library features 4,50,000 book titles.

The Calgary central library has a great reading room, and its book titles capacity is over 4,50,000, which is one unique fact. The conference room, which is located at the street level, has the capability of accommodating over 350 people.

21. The Mayor titled it ‘new icon of the city’

The mayor of the Calgary city gave the title of ‘new icon of the city’ to this newly built fantastic library. The library has been precisely categorized for providing privacy while allowing visibility. Every section of the floor has multi-purpose rooms and different set up for an analog, digital, group, and even individual interaction enabling visitors to have a complete experience.

22. The wooden archway is 85 feet long

The expansive wood archway that gives the open sky view from the center of the library has a height of 85 feet, and the curved surface in alternating has the shape of a pointed ellipse, making it a landmark of how unique a public building can be.

23. The ‘curtain wall’ has 485 panels

The exterior, which adds complex urban conditions to the building, looks like a curtain wall. But it is made from 485 panels, which were specially designed and installed by a local firm.

24. The library building has 17,000 tonnes of steel!

The building has over 17,000 tonnes of structural steel present inside its frame, which is an excellent deal for a building. It is said that this much steel can be used for making over 1000 cars of medium stature.

25. The library featured in ‘Top 9 Futurist Libraries in the World’

The Calgary Central Library has been mentioned in the list of the top 9 futuristic libraries in the world, and it deserves the place because there’s nothing ordinary about it.

To have an in-depth insight into the constructions of the Calgary central library, you can click here.

This was all about the Calgary central library located in the beautiful city of Alberta, Canada. The awards and recognition of this library are quite long, and it must have blown your mind by now. If you live around Alberta and haven’t witnessed this architectural marvel, then your eyes are missing the aesthetics of few finer things man has made.

If you ever get a chance to visit Alberta, don’t miss the opportunity of exploring this incredible library and its advancements. For the book worms, it is the unexplored paradise, which demands a visit from each one of you.

While visiting Calgary, you won’t only get to witness this fantastic library, but there’s a lot more to explore and enjoy in this beautiful city, and without attending any event, the authentic flavor of the town will remain unexplored, and we don’t want that. You can read about the top 10 best Calgary events here!

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