Allied Works Architecture was selected to design the National Music Center project in Calgary’s East Village. The firm, led by Brad Cloepfil, will have the opportunity to “invent a new kind of institution,” as the center will be the first of its kind for Canada and will be part museum, part education and part performance. The proposal is comprised of a five-storey building that will incorporate the historic King Edward Hotel, a legendary house of blues, and provide 80,000 sf of new space for the Cantos Music Foundation’s growing collection. This project marks the first stage of the redevelopment of Calgary’s East Village and the creation of a new music district in the historic heart of the city.
More images and more about the winning proposal after the break.
“The initial thing that caught my eye was the complexity of the vision in the description of what the National Music Centre aspired to be,” Cloepfil said. “It was so many different things, it was like nothing I had ever heard of, no nameable institution. It’s not just a museum, it’s not just performance space. It has this crazy blues club associated with it. It was quite a far-ranging vision…To be a part of inventing a new institution, that’s something you don’t encounter. A lot of times you get to re conceive an institution, but to really invent one, which is what we’re doing, that touches on so many parts of music at once and concentrate it into some sort of cohesive place in Calgary is an amazing challenge.”
Conceptually, the project was formed thinking of “resonant vessels” or instruments orchestrated by the collections and programs of the new building. The team’s strong concept pushed their proposal above their competitors such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Ateliers Jean Nouvel and SPF Architects. “The concept truly captured the heart and soul of this project”, said Andrew Mosker, executive director of the Cantos Music Foundation. “Brad and his team will give us an innovative building that fits with Calgary, Alberta, the West and is symbolic of something that is truly uniquely Canadian”. Cloepfil explained, ““We really do see the building as an instrument. The body of the building is designed and detailed to refer to instrument cases, while the freer forms of the interior are influenced by acoustics. Entering an exhibition gallery, a visitor will activate a threshold of sound, there will be ambient sound throughout and an interactive acoustical area where visitors can make sound with their bodies. Silence will also be present as an important element of the soundscape.”