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Glenbow Museum Begins Transformation

The $120-million renovation by DIALOG will take three years.

The Glenbow Museum, located in Downtown Calgary, has officially closed its doors for a three year renovation undertaking. The $120 million renovation has been designed by the architecture team at DIALOG. Rendering courtesy DIALOG

Calgary’s Glenbow Museum has begun a $120-million renovation, designed by DIALOG and expected to be completed by 2024. “The timing could not be better to help create a facility far more conducive to the important current conversations around cultural inclusion happening in Canada and across the globe,” said DIALOG partner Robert Claiborne, the project’s lead designer.

The building’s existing structure will be maintained, but the cladding and the interior of all eight floors will be completely transformed. A central vertical gallery will cut through the first five floors, opening the interior spaces to the sky and bringing in natural light. Double-height gallery spaces will accommodate larger-scale exhibitions and installations, complemented by flexible education spaces. Glenbow’s collection of more than 250,000 artworks and objects will be newly accessible to the public, with visible collections storage open to all visitors and a newly prominent external front door. The building’s new skin will replace the building’s original cast-in-place concrete panels, creating views into the museum and out to Calgary’s surrounding downtown cultural district. New gathering spaces include a restaurant, enhanced retail shop, roof-top event space, and multi-purpose theatre.

“When the Glenbow Museum was originally built in 1975, it was designed to serve as a vault for the museum’s extensive collection of art and historical objects; hence its historically intimidating ‘bunker-like’ presence,” said Nicholas Bell, President and CEO of Glenbow. “We are grateful to have DIALOG alongside us as we reimagine how our building can create a heightened visitor experience.”

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