Official opening: Design of new Calgary library gets positive reviews

CALGARY – Hundreds of people were lined up down the block today for the official opening of Calgary’s new central library.

The New Central Library in the East Village , @DIALOG, Twitter

The space covers 22,000 square metres and is already drawing positive reviews for its modernist design.

The building, which cost $245 million, contains about 600,000 items spread over five levels.

Public consultations on the project began in 2004 and construction didn’t start until a decade later.

The work was challenging because one of Calgary’s light-rail transit lines runs right through the building.

Calgary’s mayor, councillors, library officials and a number of special guests were at the opening celebrations, while astronaut Chris Hadfield was expected later in the day.

“It is because of the work of so many people that we are here in this magnificent space today,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The mayor said the project was on time and under budget by $10 million.

International architecture company Snohetta and Calgary design firm DIALOG were chosen for the project after a global competition.