New Year, New Building Use: Calgary Planetarium

Out with the old, in with the new as 2020 quickly approaches. Repurposing buildings has become more and more common, especially as newer, more modern buildings are built but the old buildings still hold a historical meaning or memories to a city that individuals hope to reinvent.

The Calgary art group “Contemporary Calgary” proposed the design to turn the old Calgary planetarium into a new, modern and vibrant art gallery. The idea behind this renovation was attributed to the creativity and inspiration that came from the planetarium and the desire to continue utilizing this space within the city as one where individuals could come together to feel energized by artistic ability. This will be the first contemporary art gallery of its kind for the city to enjoy. CEO of the art organization, David Leinster, said it was the intent of the renovation to “create a place that is welcoming, inviting and inclusive of all people.”

The history of the building goes back to its time as the Calgary planetarium when it was built in 1967. Twenty years later in 1987 the building became the Calgary Science Centre, but has remained empty since 2011 when Telus World of Science vacated the property. The project of repurposing the building came about in 2013 and is set to be finished by summer of 2021. The renovation of the building cost the city of Calgary around $25 million, which was followed by Contemporary Calgary taking over the project to transform the planetarium into the exceptional and unique art gallery and venue. Instead of featuring installations for longer, more permanent periods of time, the goal of the gallery will be to feature a variety of art installments in temporary time periods so that individuals will never view the same collections when visiting.

Among being just an art gallery, the unique style of the venue provides opportunities for a variety of collaborations to bring various types of art and creativity into the building, examples being the animated objects festival or the Alberta ballet, who recently performed at the venue. Remodeling the building as it has been is providing a one-of-a-kind venue for the city of Calgary, “a gathering place that will help define the community and the city.”

The remodel project itself consisted of modernization efforts for the building, updating various aspects seen to be outdated, while keeping the original aesthetic and significance of the building itself to the Calgary community. Inside the planetarium, updates to the structure and lighting are primary characteristics of the update, with the use of the KLIK LEDpodTM 40 in many of the railings helping to transform the visual aesthetic of the new venue. 

For more on this project, see the articles below:

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