Client
Calgary Central Library
General Contractor
Stuart Olson
Architect
Snøhetta
Area
22,000 sqft
Location
Calgary
Our Services
Design-Build of wood soffit
Completion
2018

Calgary Central Library

Client
Calgary Central Library
General Contractor
Stuart Olson
Architect
Snøhetta
Area
22,000 sqft
Location
Calgary
Our Services
Design-Build of wood soffit
Completion
2018

The New Central Calgary Library

The New Central Library, scheduled to open its doors to the public in 2018, is the centrepiece of Calgary's East Village Redevelopment and a building worthy of all the attention it has already attracted. Architects from Snøhetta are joined by Dialog, Stuart Olson, Entuitive (the structural engineers), and StructureCraft to design and build this modern space “to inspire all", as the City of Calgary envisions.

Our scope, the wood soffit, makes up part of the "skin" of the building, an architectural feature of curved Western Red Cedar battens flowing along the ceiling and down to the walls, difficult to not catch the visitor's attention. Stay tuned for more updates.

Visit http://yycnewcentrallibrary.com/ for more details.


Design

Computational design was critical in enabling the 3D geometry creation, structural analysis, CNC milling data, and fabrication drawings for this project. Custom algorithms were written to randomize the position of batten joints across the soffit, while respecting fabrication constraints such as the maximum overlap between panels. A parametric 3D modelling approach allowed rule sets for the prefabricated panels and battens to be established and then automatically produce 3D models and fabrication information for each of the 170 panels.

Computational design on this project enabled a vertically integrated approach, linking design, engineering, and fabrication information. As the overall geometry of the surface changed throughout the design, both structural analysis and generation of fabrication information was automatically updated.

Our scope, the wood soffit, makes up part of the “skin” of the building, an architectural feature of curved Western Red Cedar battens flowing along the ceiling and down to the walls, difficult to not catch the visitor’s attention.

Prefabrication

The freeform soffit for Calgary’s new public library forms a doubly curved underbelly and entrance to the building. The surface is created with Western red cedar battens; the battens are initially straight, and are bent and twisted as they are applied onto panels, following minimum energy curves known as geodesics across the surface. To apply these battens in place would have been impossible both from a labor and an accuracy standpoint. Accurate Prefabrication was a must.

To create the complex geometry, the soffit is built with prefabricated panels, with the battens attached to a ribbed structure of CNC’d backing elements. Over 20,000 unique pieces of CNC-profiled wood form the 300 panels in this structure. Each panel spans up to 25 feet, connecting to each other and curving down toward the ground, creating an entrance intended to attract the public into the building.


Installation of Pre-fabricated Panels