Architectural shortlist revealed for new Central Library in Calgary

From 38 submissions that arrived in East Village from as far away as Copenhagen and Tokyo, a selection committee has narrowed to four the field of contenders eager to design the new Central Library in East Village.

Those 38 submissions came in response to a Request for Qualification (RFQ) that Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) issued in May 2013 – Stage 1 of a two-stage process designed by CMLC, the City of Calgary and the Calgary Public Library – to identify a Prime Design Consultant who will help steward the successful delivery of the library project. Recognizing that the project’s success hinges on assembling the right team, CMLC together with the Calgary Public Library and the City of Calgary are seeking the architectural team best able to bring to life the new Central Library vision through enduring architecture and powerful placemaking.

“Needless to say, we’re delighted by the enthusiastic response,” said Janet Hutchinson, Board Chair, Calgary Public Library. “It validates the importance and relevance of libraries in creating vibrant, thriving and healthy communities. With its prime location one block east of City Hall in the burgeoning urban community of East Village, the new Central Library will serve Calgary’s growing population as the heart and hub of the city’s network of public libraries, as well as local residents and the 120,000+ workers who travel downtown every day.”

To zero in on the best candidate for the exciting challenge of designing the new Central Library, CMLC’s two-stage procurement strategy is being shepherded by a selection committee comprising members of Calgary Public Library, City of Calgary, Project Management consultant – MHPM, CMLC and an independent architectural consultant, Ian Chodikoff (former editor of Canadian Architect).

When the open and competitive RFQ closed on June 20, the selection committee carefully reviewed the 38 submissions and established a shortlist of eight proponents. Interviews with the shortlisted teams were conducted during the week of July 15, and four teams will now advance to the second stage of the process: Request for Proposal.

CMLC, in conjunction with the City of Calgary and Calgary Public Library, has announced the following four shortlisted firms:

• 3XN and AECOM (Denmark and Calgary)
• KPMB and BKDI (Toronto and Calgary)
• REX and Group2 (New York and Calgary)
• Snohetta and Dialog (Oslo/New York and Calgary)

“Every one of the 38 teams that responded to the RFQ had impressive qualifications, and narrowing the field to four has been no easy task. This gives us great confidence that the successful proponent will be immensely qualified to design a new Central Library which will inspire all Calgarians,” said Michael Brown, president & CEO, CMLC.

The four shortlisted teams will have until September 4, 2013 to submit their proposals and the selection committee will unveil the successful Prime Design Consultant in October. Following the announcement of the successful proponent, the public will be re-engaged to witness how the design components of the new central library program align with the described community needs and uses.

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2015, and the new Central Library is anticipated to open by 2018.

In conjunction with the RFP to select a Prime Design Consultant, CMLC has also issued RFPs for Below-Grade Utility Relocation Management and Construction Management Services. Successful proponents will work on the new Central Library project with CMLC, in conjunction with the Prime Design Consultant.

Providing approximately 286,000 square feet of usable library space – 54% more than the existing downtown library – the new Central Library will be a multi-faceted public destination and gathering place with a physical collection of approximately 600,000 books, special programs and spaces for children and teens, a technology commons and laboratory for innovation, a centre that supports inclusive community integration and advancement through skills development, and much more.

The East Village redevelopment is being stewarded by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, a company of passionate, experienced placemakers who bring new energy to old neighbourhoods, create credibility and confidence, and inspire communities to build, grow and believe.

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