Each city has its own visiting card buildings. A selection of iconic Calgary buildings that demonstrate architectural features and at the same time tell the story of the city’s rich history, more on the website calgary-future.
1. Calgary Tower
This is an observation tower and tourist attraction in the city center, the height of which is 191 meters. The tower was opened to the public on June 30, 1968, when it was the tallest structure in the city.
As an iconic Calgary landmark, the Tower is also a nostalgic landmark. The design has the aesthetics of the middle of the 20th century. The glass-floored observation deck offers great views of the city, and inside there is a revolving restaurant.
In 1976, the Vertigo Theatre was established at the base of the tower. Since 2003, it has been entertaining the city, providing a full season of performances in the genre of mysticism for adults and youth. The tower also houses a carillon (percussion musical instrument) that was donated to the city by the Dutch community in 1975 to mark Calgary’s 100th anniversary.
2. Studio Bell
This is an incredible architectural site with a rich history in the East Village. The building functions as a museum and as a venue for cultural events.
It all began with the installation of the Carthy organ in the Jack Singer Concert Hall in 1987. Then the TriumphEnt International Organ Festival was launched. It also led to the creation of a new organization known as the Chinook Keyboard Centre, which developed keyboard instruments.
The Chinook Keyboard Center was later renamed the Cantos Music Museum, and expanded beyond keyboards to develop electronic instruments and sound equipment. The museum was located in the historic customs building at 134-11th Avenue S.E. Since 2000, this center has offered gallery tours and concerts. In February 2012, Cantos became the National Music Center.
However, the premises later turned out to be too small, so in 2016 Studio Bell opened. The studio became the new space of the National Music Center. It houses a collection of over 2,000 rare instruments and artifacts, including the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio and one of Elton John’s pianos.
The interior of the building is covered with 226,000 terracotta tiles. The center organizes interactive educational programs, exhibitions, performances, and also hosts various concerts.
3. Central library
The central library is an important center of creativity, learning and a place for communication. The building is an ode to Calgary’s design and planning success. Located in the East Village.
This public library opened on November 1, 2018, replacing the previous central branch built in the 1960s. The structure is raised one story above street level to cover the CTrain light rail tunnel and an open public plaza. The entrance is framed by wooden arches.
The landscaping around the library and adjacent area consists of terracing inspired by the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The building is wrapped in a textured facade with translucent glass panels and clear glass so that the public spaces are visible from the outside.
The interior is centered around a 4-story central atrium topped by a skylight. There are meeting rooms on the lower floors, and book stacks and a reading room on the upper floors. Under the main lobby there is a theater, conference rooms and a small coffee shop.
By the way, the library has ecological features, such as three-chamber windows for energy savings on climate control or finishing materials with low levels of volatile organic compounds. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called the library “the city’s new icon” during a public design unveiling in 2014.
4. TELUS Sky
TELUS Sky is a multifunctional skyscraper in the center of Calgary with height in 222 m. After the completion of construction in 2019, the building became the third tallest structure in the city.
On July 4, 2013, Telus Corporation announced the development of the Telus Sky project – a multi-functional tower with an area of 750,000 m2. Of the 60 floors, they decided to allocate 26 for office space, and the rest for residential and commercial space, thus creating a unique and dynamic combination of work and city life.
Telus Sky’s north and south facades are covered in a dynamic LED display called the Northern Lights. It is one of the largest public art lamps in Canada. LED light strips have an infinite number of color shades and combinations. The opening sequence always mimics the world-famous aurora borealis. The interior will also surprise you: an incredible green wall has been installed inside.
5. The Bow
This is another impressive skyscraper in downtown Calgary. Its height is 247 meters. Bow is a private office building, but you can enjoy its scale from the street. It is worth walking through the giant metal sculpture of a little girl’s head, which is called “Wonderland”. Visitors can go inside it – there are two openings in the neck area.
When Calgarians were first shown this work of art, it was not well received. However, later Calgarians fell in love with the wire sculpture and it became one of the most famous locations for photo shoots.
6. City Hall
The value of the Old City Hall lies in its connection to Calgary’s historical status as the urban and economic center of southern Alberta and its architectural significance as a monumental public building. Here you can feel the energy of the city and imagine what the buildings were like at the beginning of the formation of Calgary.
Opened in 1911, the building embodies Richardson’s Romanesque style and is one of the few remaining sandstone buildings of its scale in Alberta. The building serves as the offices of Calgary City Council, including the offices of the mayor, fourteen councilors and the municipal clerk.
7. Peace Bridge
The Peace Bridge is too fantastic not to be on the list of iconic buildings. It is designed for pedestrians and cyclists and runs over the Bow River. From it you can see wonderful views of the nearby park and the city in general.
8. Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
This is a stunning building in the Rocky Ridge area, which organically fits into the unique landscape of the prairies. A large recreational facility promotes a healthy lifestyle for Calgarians. Shane Homes YMCA opened to the public in 2018.
The landscape of the region influenced the design of the YMCA, with one of its main features being a low, curved roof reminiscent of the surrounding foothills. The interior also stands out as the layout integrates different activities. Inside there is a swimming pool, a gym, a hockey arena, etc.
9. University of Calgary Central Campus
The University of Calgary’s central campus is the least visible on the list, but its black fish scale-like facade sets a fantastic tone for the city. Such a magnificent structure in the center of Calgary testifies to his architectural and at the same time educational achievements.
10. cSPACE King Edward
At the end of this list is an art center, an innovative space and co-working space where you can experiment, explore and initiate change. cSPACE is located in a vibrant, arts-friendly neighborhood close to the city center. Art exhibitions, installations, and advanced technologies are demonstrated here. The building showcases the innovation and creative diversity of Calgary.