Two years after holding an international architectural competition that saw world-renowned designers face off in a public presentation, the National Music Centre revealed the extraordinary final design by Allied Works Architecture, the winner of the competition.
"We have worked tirelessly over the last two years to create a space unlike any other in the world," said NMC President and CEO Andrew Mosker. "We're ecstatic with the results and with the experience we had working with Allied Works, GEC and the rest of the team. We truly believe this building will join the ranks of iconic architecture in Canada."
The National Music Centre's design pays homage to the Western Canadian landscape with a series of "resonant vessels" informed by the crags and canyons of the Rocky Mountains, the hoodoos of southern Alberta, and the vast openness of the prairies creating spaces that will resonate with the sounds of NMC's dynamic program offering.
Built around the historical (and condemned) King Edward Hotel, many have speculated on how the design would treat this piece of Calgary's musical history that closed in 2004 after serving as a hotbed of blues music in Canada for decades.
"It was important to us to respect the King Eddy," says architect Brad Cloepfil. "While reclamation and restoration is certainly necessary, we didn't want to scrub it too clean. We don't want to scare the ghosts away."
One of the more unique features of the building is a two-storey bridge that spans 4th Street SE. The span not only creates interesting event and performance spaces for NMC, but also serves as a very strong visual gateway into a revitalized East Village.
"We worked closely with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation to ensure our design meshed with the overall vision for East Village," says Mosker. "We've created a strong visual anchor in addition to a vibrant, street-level atmosphere that speaks to the work-play-live philosophy the CMLC is striving for."
"The completion of the design marks an important milestone in the creation of the National Music Centre," says Mosker. "Combined with funding commitments from three levels of government, partnerships with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Canadian Country Music Association, along with an aggressive fundraising campaign, the project has a great deal of momentum here in Calgary and across Canada. We're very excited."
The 135,000-square-foot National Music Centre is projected to open in 2014.