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Education

Tale of two libraries: Edmonton design backlash morphs into rivalry with Calgary

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Edmonton Library construction

EDMONTON — The pitched reaction to Edmonton’s remodelled downtown library has morphed into the latest instalment of the city’s rivalry with its southern neighbour Calgary.

Renovations on the Stanley A. Milner Library have been going on for months, but this week Edmontonians took notice of the dark, angular, futuristic redesign.

Memes have surfaced online comparing the building to everything from a military tank to a cruise ship. Some have posted side-by-side photos of Calgary’s award-winning Central Library and its Edmonton counterpart.

Edmonton Public Library CEO Pilar Martinez said much of the online backlash against the redesign came as a shock to staff.

“We were dismayed, particularly given that the project has been underway for over 2 1/2 years and it has been in a similar state for several months,” Martinez said.

The building has been closed since 2016 and is not scheduled to reopen until next February.

“People need to give it some time before they make a final judgment on the appearance of the exterior.”

Much of the furor seems to stem from the difference between artist renderings released before construction and what people are seeing now.

Martinez said the project has undergone some changes. Renovations were initially budgeted at $62.5 million and increased to $84.5 million after asbestos was removed and the old building was brought up to code.

She also said it isn’t fair to compare Edmonton’s library with Calgary’s new building because both cities have different histories and municipal budgets.

At $245 million, Calgary Central Library cost almost triple that of the Edmonton renovations.

“Unlike Calgary, we were working within an existing structure,” Martinez said. “That brought with it having to work around pillars … and not being absolutely free in creating a space from scratch — and there are some advantages to that.

“We shouldn’t be pitted against each other.”

She’s hoping people will have a different reaction when the library reopens its doors.

“I hope people will give us a chance,” Martinez said. “They should experience it in its fullness, rather than what it looks like at the moment.”

Trevor Boddy, a Vancouver-based architecture critic, said the Edmonton library was designed from the inside out.

“What you have are these multi-levels of bridges and spaces to study, talk, walk and even have coffee with light streaming down from above,” said Boddy, who grew up in Edmonton.

“I think it will be the first building of the 21st century in downtown Edmonton — and good on them.”

He noted that Toronto-based architect Stephen Teeple, who designed the building, also designed the Clareview recreation centre in northeast Edmonton and the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum outside Grande Prairie, Alta.

Teeple Architects did not respond to a request for comment.

Historically, Edmonton has had a more advanced art and architecture scene, Boddy said,  but in the last couple of decades Calgary has surged ahead because the city has more money and a larger community of designers.

“There always has been a rivalry and always will be,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing.”

Boddy pointed out that the new Calgary library was not well received before it opened late last year.

Many questioned whether it would be viable to have light-rail transit run below it, and the building was also compared to an ocean liner.

“To me, controversy around a new building is usually a sign that something has gone right, not wrong,” Boddy said.

“That’s because they are doing something unusual, innovative or groundbreaking that catches the eye, which might scare people or confuse people, but then they go on to be much loved.”

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

Edmonton

Costumes, props and interactive elements bring the comic book world to life

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from Telus World of Science:

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes features more than 300 artifacts, including some of Marvel’s most iconic and sought-after pages, costumes, and props. Spectacular artifacts to thrill both avid collectors, and casual fans—while immersive set pieces, soundscapes, and interactive elements bring the comic book world to life!

The exhibition debuts during Marvel’s 80th anniversary year and 10th anniversary of Marvel Cinematic Universe, and chronicles the story of Marvel and its influence on visual culture, while also uncovering the narratives of individual characters such as Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange.

Exhibition Highlights:

  • Interactive elements including the opportunity to travel through the mysterious mirror dimension of Doctor Strange, digitally transform into Iron Man, and pose for selfies alongside life-size representations of Black Panther, Spider-Man, and other iconic Marvel characters.
  • A fully immersive design with life-size scenes straight from the comic world.
  • Rare, hand-drawn images of iconic heroes such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America—by the artists who first designed them.
  • Concept sketches, props, and costumes celebrating the 10th anniversary of Marvel Studios.

To get your hotel deal, which includes a discount on exhibit passes and room night(s), visit our hotel partner Edmonton’s Best Hotels

For other Things To Do in Edmonton visit exploreedmonton.com

© 2019 MARVEL

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Edmonton

City of Edmonton and University of Alberta named first Canadian members in MetroLab Network

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Downtown Edmonton buildings

September 19, 2019

The City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta have joined the MetroLab network, an exclusive group of international city-university partnerships that help solve some of municipalities’ greatest challenges.

“The City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta have an extensive history of working together for the benefit of our city and region,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “It’s a great opportunity to join a network of researchers to help create technological advancements that will benefit our community and the personal wellness of our residents.”

MetroLab, a network of more than 40 city-university partnerships, announced the City of Edmonton and University of Alberta as their first Canadian partners, joining Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol as the newest members. Members of MetroLab have unique access to information-sharing and innovative research towards solving municipal challenges.

“Along with the City of Edmonton, the University of Alberta is proud to be the first Canadian city-university partnership to join the international MetroLab Network,” added David Turpin, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta. “Starting with our combined research efforts in areas related to smart city infrastructure, transportation and elder care, we will develop ideas, technologies and innovations that not only transform our city, but cities worldwide.”

The city-university MetroLab projects focus on connected buildings, connected people and connected vehicles. New technologies will aid in the development of smart buildings during design and construction, and help to improve facility operations and decrease operating costs. For instance, by deploying sensors in its buildings, the City aims to collect data about building performance to optimize energy use and minimize environmental impact, saving money in energy costs.

A second project, Project ANA, is developing a conversational Automated Nursing Agent for tablets and other devices, meant to help increase connectivity and well-being for independent elderly residents. By providing conversation, answering questions and reminding users of schedules and appointments, ANA will help residents to live independently while connecting them to the information and social interaction they need.

Work will also continue on the ACTIVE advanced transportation technologies project, including wireless vehicle communications, to improve the safety and movement of people and goods. Their research includes the development of pedestrian detection sensors. This project is part of an overall research portfolio that works toward improvements in traffic safety.

MetroLab will share these projects with its members and the City and University will now be able to more easily access information and expertise from other municipalities and institutions.

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