PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGE WEBBER
1: Chef Eric Hendry and local business owner Gareth Lukes partnered on Lukes restaurant, which serves savory “porridges,” such as red lentil dal and brown rice congee. And no need to sneak that Bows & Arrows coffee out of the on-site café (also called Lukes) and past the librarian: Covered drinks are allowed throughout the building.
2: Hemlock and red cedar cladding soften the design’s radicalism. “Warm materials like wood lend the spaces a sense of intimacy and familiarity that allows people to open themselves up to new experiences,” says Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers.
3: The ship-shaped building, co- designed by Oslo-based architecture firm Snøhetta and Canadian studio Dialog, is covered in 456 hexagonal panels and features an entryway that recalls the arched clouds caused by Alberta’s Chinook winds. The interior spirals up around an ocular skylight (pictured above), from the lobby to the silent fourth-floor reading room.
4: The indigenous art collection includes Cree artist Lionel Peyachew’s centerpiece bison sculpture, made from metal letters that form words in native languages. “The art represents our deep commitment to indigenous services,” says Bill Ptacek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library system. Tribal elders also staff an office for free consultations.
5: The children’s play area includes climbing ropes, toys, and soft spaces to crawl around. “Kids learn best when they’re physically, as well as mentally, engaged,” Ptacek says. “Not only is there running in the library, there’s running, jumping, and mayhem.”