The National Music Centre (NMC) of Canada celebrates the architectural completion of Studio Bell, its new home designed by Allied Works Architecture.
Located in Calgary, Alberta, this state-of-the-art cultural centre is a museum, performance hall, live music venue, recording facility, and broadcast studio. The 160,00 square-foot structure is the firm’s most ambitious project to date, and is the first facility of its kind in North America and first dedicated to Canada’s musical history.
In his design for the new institution, AWA founding principal Brad Cloepfil drew inspiration from the curvilinear shapes of musical instruments. The NMC spans two city blocks, and is connected by a fifth floor skybridge, which offers sweeping views of the Bow River and surrounding landscape. The new facility is an architectural and cultural focal point for the region, incorporating and revitalizing the neighbouring historic 1905 King Edward Hotel, one of Calgary’s oldest buildings, a former home of a legendary blues club.
Marking Allied Works’ most ambitious building project to date, Studio Bell rises in nine, interlocking towers, clad in glazed terra cotta. Its subtly curved design references acoustic vessels, while allowing for sweeping views of the Stampede Park, Bow River and surrounding cityscape. The project encompasses 160,000-square-feet of new construction, including a 300-seat performance hall and 22,000-square-feet of exhibition space. The masonry building of the “King Eddy” has been fully refurbished and integrated within the NMC’s program in Studio Bell’s west block, which features a radio station, recording studios, media center, Artists-in-Residence spaces, and education classrooms.
“In its many diverse spaces, Studio Bell echoes the variety of musical performance,” said Cloepfil. “Uniting audience and performer, student and teacher, the building creates instances of immersion, when the visitor is transported from daily life, and moments of transition between spaces, providing an opportunity for quiet contemplation. In our designs, we seek to create transformational spaces. For the National Music Centre, Studio Bell’s nine towers are modeled by gravity and acoustics, and together create a silent and powerful instrument that emanates music and light.”
Studio Bell opened to the public on July 1, 2016.