Posts tagged with "Canada":

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Michael Maltzan Architecture’s billowy Inuit Art Centre set to open this fall

Winnipeg, the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Manitoba, has an outspoken indigenous culture that represents over 12 percent of its population. To reflect that heritage, the city broke ground in the spring of 2018 on the Inuit Art Centre (IAC), a 40,000-square-foot addition to the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) that, when completed, will become the largest exhibition gallery in Canada devoted to indigenous art. Designed by Los Angeles-based firm Michael Maltzan Architecture, in collaboration with local Associate Architect Cibinel Architects Ltd., the IAC connects to the southern edge of the original museum building designed by Gustavo da Roza in 1971 and will also provide a lecture theatre, research areas, a visible art storage vault, and additional facilities for an expanded studio art and educational program for the local community. An expansive, light-filled gallery on the top floor will house over 13,000 Inuit carvings, textile prints, and other artworks provided by WAG and the Government of Nunavut. The design centers on the Inuit Vault, a double-height storage area visible from the outside with a shelving system that parallels the curvature of the envelope. The interior will be accessible to curators and scholars to offer an even more intimate relationship with the museum’s impressive collection. Stephen Borys, the Director of WAG, hopes that the addition will inspire the local community to engage with the country’s rich cultural heritage. “We’ll be able to connect a classroom in Winnipeg to a classroom in Rankin [Inlet] or Iqaluit,” Borys told CBC. Prior to designing the addition, Michael Maltzan joined WAG Director Stephen Borys on a trip to the north Canadian province of Nunavut to learn more about Inuit communities and the unique landscaping that serve as their background. According to a press statement, the resultant design “draws on the ephemeral qualities of northern environments that celebrate historic and contemporary Inuit art and culture.” The all-glass ground level appears to effortlessly support the sculptural walls of the upper floors, which were designed to subtly reflect the Nunavut landscape and feature organically-shaped skylights that will suffuse light throughout the columnless gallery space. The Inuit Art Centre is currently under construction and is expected to be open to the public in the fall.
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Canada’s tallest residential tower revealed for downtown Toronto

Hariri Pontarini Architects has revealed what’s set to become Canada’s tallest residential tower at just over 1,027 feet tall. Slated for downtown Toronto, the 95-story project—dubbed SkyTower—will be part of a three-tower luxury condo development called Pinnacle One Yonge. A thin, glass skyscraper protected by a crystal-like, faceted exoskeleton, Sky Tower will anchor the 4.4-million-square-foot waterfront site imagined by Canadian developer Pinnacle International. Hariri Pontarini conceived the masterplan and designed the trio of high-rise buildings that will define the lot. The first tower, the 65-story ‘Prestige,’ is currently under construction, while SkyTower, which was only just released to the public, will feature 800 units ranging from 520 square feet to 2,300 square feet and will begin its build-out soon. According to the architects, the mega-project is meant to “densify and enhance the urban streetscape.” Located just yards away from Toronto’s CN Tower, the high-rise development will dramatically change the skyline as viewed from Lake Ontario. One Yonge will be connected to a revamped public transit system and include improved pedestrian and cycling access via widened sidewalks, a 2.5-acre public park, and an inner courtyard set between the three buildings. At the base of SkyTower, The Prestige, and the future 80-story structure slated for the northern corner of the site, there will also be multi-level podiums connected by glass atriums, wide walkways, and international gathering spaces, per Hariri Pontarini. These areas will hold 160,000-square-feet of retail, a 50,000-square-foot community center, and a 250-room hotel. Across all of the towers, One Yonge will house over 2,200 condominiums and 1.5 million square feet of office space.  While SkyTower is vying for the title of Canada’s tallest residential complex, other projects set for various sites throughout the city are also gunning for major accolades. For example, Sidewalk Labs recently unveiled a digital model of what could become the world’s tallest tower made of timber. The company’s controversial Quayside development is supposed to be a high-tech neighborhood full of high-design, sustainable structures by firms like Snøhetta, Gensler, 3XN, Heatherwick Studios, and Michael Green Architecture, among others.  Last summer, Pelli Clarke Pelli announced its vision for a 4.3-million-square-foot megadevelopment comprised of four glassy towers and an urban park. The ground-up project is set to be built even closer to CN Tower in the adjacent Union Park and involves a slew of partners, including Adamson Associates and OJB Landscape Architecture. Hudson Yards’ very own Oxford Properties is spearheading the project.
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Canada gives utopia a chance with The Orbit

There have been hundreds of smart cities recently proposed for countries all over the world, but one of the most recent and confident (backed by developer Cortel Group) is The Orbit, a smart city master plan in Innisfil, Canada, just north of Toronto, envisioned by architecture firm PARTISANS Innisfil is a rural town with a long history of progressive thinking. It was one of the first towns to test out Uber and also accepts cryptocurrency as a payment method for city services and taxation. The entire proposal anticipates boosting Innisfil's population from 30,000 to anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000.  The Orbit looks and feels like the utopian Garden Cities which originated in England during the heights of the Industrial Revolution. A suburban dream of order, lawns, and cleanliness away from the filth and chaos of industrial London, these cities were often realized in concentric circles with the ingredients of society each assigned their own belt: Housing, schools, shops, factories, and transportation segregated from each other.  While PARTISANS does admit to Garden City inspiration, their reasons for departure from the framework are weak: The design claims to use a unique street grid form the firm has called “squircles”—not quite squares and not quite circles. But really, they just replace 19th-century jargon with 21st-century jargon, and instead of idyllic lawns for children to play on, the plan speaks to more efficient and environmentally friendly suburbanization patterns as an alternative to urban sprawl. The project, which will span over 450 acres, will also include a plan for mass fiber optic cable systems that will provide connectivity across sidewalks, streets, and buildings as well as drone ports and self-driving cars. The firm has also entertained the idea of how health and wellness centers can benefit from such technologies. All the other elements of a hospitable city will be included as well, including a school, farmer's market, library, recreational centers, and art institutions. The Innisfil Council voted unanimously to accept PARTISANS’ proposal after putting out a call for designs looking for a “visionary city of the future centered around a transit hub.” Prompted by the introduction of a new Metrolinx rail station known as GO Transit, which is expected to form the center of The Orbit's layout, it will be joined by two mixed-use towers that will house offices, retail, and residential spaces. The squircles, or roadways, will then wrap around this central hub.

The Orbit is also following in the footsteps of the earlier proposed project in Toronto by Sidewalk Labs. An offshoot of Alphabet Inc., Sidewalk Labs has redesigned the old industrial waterfront district of Quayside to resemble an Innovative Development and Economic Acceleration (IDEA) district. Both Canadian plans are idealistic in nature and check many of the boxes required for sustainable and sensitive development in contemporary discourse. However, their main drawback is that they are digital master plans, and their biggest ideas, from infrastructure to real estate, require the intervention and cooperation of many different parties—these outside partnerships undermine the authoritative leadership proposed by a utopian plan and jeopardize the guarantees the designers see (although Sidewalk Labs is definitely making progress).

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Squamish Nation approves $3 billion housing development in Vancouver

The Squamish First Nation’s plans to build a 6,000-unit residential development in Vancouver has taken a major step forward as the community voted in favor of the Revery Architecture-designed project on December 10. Eighty-seven percent of members voted in support of construction, which will be made possible through a 50-50 partnership with the developer Westbank.  Last Thursday, new renderings of the $3-billion, 11-tower development were published by The Daily Hive and they illustrate just how radically the project would transform the city’s Kitsilano neighborhood. Located on the reserve lands at Sen̓áḵw, the project will be Canada’s largest development on First Nations land. Because of this location, the city of Vancouver will have no ability to regulate what is built; however, this doesn’t mean that the Squamish Planning Group won’t work closely with the city on the vision for the site.  In 2014, the City of Vancouver was designated as a City of Reconciliation and outlined goals to “form a sustained relationship, mutual respect, and understanding with local First Nations and the Urban Indigenous community,” as well as “promote Indigenous peoples arts, culture, and awareness.” This project is just one example of these values being put into action. “It’s a change for us, but we deserve it,” Chief Janice George told CBC. “We deserve to benefit from this land, just like everybody else in Vancouver.”  The 11.7-acre development will be situated near the foot of the Burrard Bridge on a 500-acre parcel of land and will transform the existing neighborhood into a dense urban center. Out of the 11 towers, the tallest is expected to reach 56 stories. Between 70-and-90 percent of the units will be designated as market rental units and the rest will be leased as condominiums.  “The Squamish Nation is thrilled with the outcome of this referendum, which was approved by a landslide. It is truly a landmark moment in our Nation’s history,” wrote Squamish Nation councilor Khelsilem, in a statement on Facebook. “The Sen̓áḵw Project will transform the Squamish Nation by providing immense social, cultural, and economic benefits to Squamish Nation members for generations to come.” Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in 2021.
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MU Architecture designs a paleo-futuristic tower for remote Canadian forest

Montreal-based MU Architecture has unveiled its design for a "paleo-futuristic" tower set in the middle of a Canadian forest. Hovering 670 feet above the hilly landscape of western Quebec, PEKULIARI toes the line between looking like a relic from the past—totemic—and embodying the architecture of the near future.  The seven-year-old firm, which is mainly known for its sculptural, high-end residential projects, envisioned the organically-shaped skyscraper for the Outaouais region, just north of the Ottawa River, as a luxury development that connects people directly with nature. In an email conversation with AN, MU Architecture founders Jean-Sébasten Herr and Charles Côté said they first visited the 15,000,000-square-foot site this summer. "[It] totally impregnated us with the immensity and strength of the forest," they said. "The site literally inspired the stacking; it was the only relevant solution for the project. As if the structure had always been there and nature, in time, only took back its place."  According to the architects, PEKULIARI is an indulgent nature retreat far away from the stressors of urban life and the concept is meant to both immerse guests in the wild while providing them with high-end comforts. For example, its podium, meant to resemble a large pile of rocks, will eventually invite guests into a three-story lobby where they can access a concierge to equip them with food and gear for venturing out into the forest. The rest of the 48-story structure, created using parametric design software, will house 50 luxury units, conference rooms for business and entertainment, a cigar lounge and bar, and a rooftop pool, gym, and spa—all packed within the exoskeletal-like frame that holds up its crystalline facade.  It’s an extravagant development, no doubt, and will span 326,000 square feet of space total. However, the building isn’t meant to take away from the land, said Herr and Côté. They noted the land surrounding the structure will become a Private Natural Reserve, making the property owners in charge of protecting the local wildlife (although the construction of the tower itself may likely displace or disrupt the forest's natural rhythm). Intentionally or not, the project invites comparisons to the Danish Bestseller Tower, which will place a supertall skyscraper in the middle of a pastoral town. From the outside, the tower will take on an earthy feel, blending into the forested region. The cellular exterior panels will be multi-toned in order to enhance the reflections from the sun. From the inside, the boreal landscape is nearly unobstructed by the building’s presence; several cutouts in the facade allow for panoramic views. Other features include an underground parking garage with a “bat cave-type hidden entrance in the woods,” according to the architects, and a massive wine cellar and indoor shooting range. In an interview last month with La Press, Herr and Côté said they like a “touch of strangeness and mystery” about their projects. The element of surprise becomes a key part of their designs—hence why PEKULIARI emerges from the middle of nowhere. As the only non-urban structure among their current tower projects, (the other two are located in downtown Montreal), the building supposedly represents the studio's aim to "overcome the near-impossible."  "The possibility of designing a unique skyscraper in the middle of the forest follows MU Architecture’s philosophy to design outstanding architecture that moves people and creates unlived experiences, " said Herr.   
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Controversial expansion to Ottawa's Chateau Laurier rejected for now

The owner of what’s arguably the most important historic hotel in Canada wants to expand its northwestern backside with a modern addition that’s met with extremely severe criticism online.  Designed by Peter Clewes, principal of the Toronto-based architectsAlliance, the bulky, seven-story structure would bring 147 new rooms to the iconic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a 107-year-old structure in Ottawa near Parliament Hill. Late last month, the City Council’s Committee of Adjustment rejected the request by property owner Larco Investments for a reduced rear yard setback on the addition. The denial effectively prevents them from breaking ground on the project. Built in 1912 and originally named after the First Grand Trunk Railway by then-owner Charles Melville Hays, the limestone-clad structure spans an impressive 660,000-square-feet, boasts 429 rooms, and sports a number of iconic turrets. It’s located in a section of Major’s Hill Park, a grand landscape in downtown Ottawa along the Rideau Canal. Some opponents of the expansion project say it would hinder views of the surrounding cityscape, much of which is on federal land. In the September 27 setback hearing, the committee acknowledged that these heritage features would be threatened and as one city council member also noted in the Ottawa Citizen, that the design isn’t compatible with the “shapes and materials” of the hotel. All these factors were outlined in the committee’s final decision: 
“The committee is of the opinion that the approval of (the) variance would allow for a new build that does not respect the landscape and character of the heritage features of the historic properties that surround the site, specifically those of the Rideau Canal, Major’s Hill Park and the Parliamentary Precinct, in contravention of the policies currently in place for compatible design and protection of views to these sites.” 
But Clewes, who has attempted to explain his design decision over the last few years, said the addition was imagined with the utmost respect for the historic site. In a 2016 interview with Maclean's, he claimed the hotel’s use of limestone and deeply incised windows was considered in the new project in order to complement the existing building.  “We’ve chosen to reinterpret that... but in a much more contemporary manner, which is a series of vertical windows in a somewhat whimsical pattern—some have likened it to a bar code,” he said. “What we’re trying to say is, look, the hotel is the most important building here, and we were simply trying to respond to that.”  If Clewes’s proposal was realized, it would be built on the site of a former parking garage located at the rear of the hotel. To signify the separation between the historic building and its contemporary predecessor, the architect added in a glazed structure so that “there’s a very clear distinction between what is old and what is new.”  But it’s not enough. Larco Investments has already secured heritage and site-plan approvals from the city council but has failed in trying to minimize the required setback for an addition to the hotel property. The reduction, according to Ottawa Citizen, would project out towards the park and “represents an increase in density on the site.” It's expected that Larco Investments will appeal the decision with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
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$100,000 landscape architecture prize named after Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) announced today that Canadian landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has been chosen as the namesake of its new international prize. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit first introduced the biennial award, now dubbed the Oberlander Prize, back in August as the first and only one of its kind to provide a $100,000 award for landscape architects. Currently living in Vancouver, Oberlander, 98, has worked across Canada and the United States for over 70 years. Among her most notable works include the National Gallery of Canada, The New York Times Building in New York, the Canadian Chancery in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver—one of the dozens of projects where she collaborated with the late architect Arthur Erickson. In a July meeting with TCLF president and CEO Charles A. Birnbaum, Oberlander said she was “overwhelmed and smitten” by the honor and released the following statement: 
“I hope the Oberlander Prize will spur landscape architects to innovate, be inventive and generate new ideas, and to be leaders in their community.  Landscape architecture is ideally suited to deal with the environmental, social and ecological challenges we face now and the challenges we must plan for in the future.  Landscape architects are a combination of artists, designers, choreographers, and scientists; they must also be leaders, especially in dealing with the effects of climate change.  Through careful research, innovation, collaboration with allied professionals, and design excellence, landscape architecture can become a global leader in addressing the important issues we all face.”
Oberlander is a highly-decorated, award-winning design professional whose influence most recently earned her the ranking of Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest level of the Order of Canada. Though she was born in Germany, Oberlander immigrated to the United States for a brief time to study at Smith College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1951, she became a community planner in Philadelphia, eventually working alongside Dan Kiley on both the Schuylkill Falls public housing project led by architect Oskar Stonorov and the Millcreek housing project led by Louis Kahn.  Two years later she established her own practice in Vancouver and quickly garnered attention for her environmentally-thoughtful design. At Expo ‘67 in Montreal, she created the Children’s Creative Center, an innovative playground that led her work on 70 playground projects in her lifetime. “It was the consensus of the Prize Advisory Committee,” said Birnbaum in a press release, “which helped shape the Prize, and TCLF’s Board of Directors that Cornelia Oberlander’s inspiring and trailblazing career in the field of landscape architecture exemplifies the critical values and ideals of the Prize, and that she is someone who embodies the Prize criteria of creativity, courage, and vision.” TCLF is in the process of raising $4.5 million to endow the prize forever and has received individual commitments of $10,000 each from donors within its 100 Women Campaign. The inaugural recipient will be announced in 2021.
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Edmonton Symphony Orchestra gets upgrade with $65 million expansion plan

Newly revealed plans to expand the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Alberta, Canada, present a striking transformation from a small concert hall to a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use space. The expansion, designed by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas, will redefine the downtown building as a 21st-century cultural hub complete with curved glass walls, a slatted stone roof enclosure, and an elevated garden level. Bromberg’s design marks a progressive change for the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, a space deeply rooted in community and public access. The Winspear Centre was completed in 1997 by Canadian architecture firm Dialog, providing a resounding answer to the long-standing question of the feasibility of placing a concert hall in Edmonton; over 60,000 people flocked to the Winspear’s 1,900-seat concert hall in its inaugural month. Dialog described the walls as “micro-textured to create outstanding reverberance and clarity,” adding to the Winspear Centre’s reputation for superb acoustics. Public enthusiasm for the Winspear has yet to fade, leading to the calls for expansion so that the center might better serve its community. The 98-foot-tall addition to the existing structure will create a new 550-seat concert hall called the Music Box, containing a unique hydraulic seating system with "the ability to transform from flat floor to raked to cabaret-style seating in minutes,” according to Adeas. On the ground level, additional rooms for public use as well as a daycare center and music library will boost the building’s function as a community resource. The glass atrium will open to an accessible elevated garden level, with additional shade provided by the overhanging slatted roof. Increased parking will be available both underground and at the street level. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and conclude in 2021. A grand opening will occur in 2022 alongside the Winspear Centre’s 25th anniversary celebration.
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World's tallest passive house tower could rise in Vancouver's West End

Canadian company Henson Developments is planning the world’s tallest passive house for downtown Vancouver. Slated for the edge of the city's West End neighborhood, 1075 Nelson would stand 60 stories tall, hovering higher than most towers in British Columbia and with three times the efficiency.  The Vancouver Courier reported that the City of Vancouver is currently reviewing Henson’s rezoning application and after that, it will go before the city council for a public hearing. Sean Pander, who serves as the city’s green building manager, believes the 555-foot-tall project will push other developers to pursue more eco-friendly projects. It’s located in a vibrant, largely residential part of town where there is rapid growth. “What makes it a really big deal is the amount of attention it will get with the public, as well as with developers, designers, manufacturers of windows,” said Pander in an interview with the Courier.   But Rick Gregory, vice-president of Henson Developments, isn’t looking to build a basic, boxy tower with an ultra-tight envelope, he said. Both of the two top tallest passive house buildings in the world are rather square: Bolueta by VArquitectors in Bilbao, Spain, and the 250-foot tall residential structure by Handel Architects at Cornell Tech. Gregory wanted 1075 Nelson to be architecturally-significant. “There is a certain look that Passive House generally yields and we’re trying to move away from that to make it much more attractive to other people to take the same approach," he told the Courier. To achieve this, Gregory enlisted the help of British architect Tom Wright of WKK Architects and Gwyn Vose, director of IBI Group. Early renderings reveal an undulating structure with large loggia spaces in the center voids spanning multiple floors. While it’s likely Henson Developments will get support for some sort of passive house construction—Vancouver released its own zero-emissions building plan in 2016—Gregory's goal of building an atypical design that’s the tallest in the world could prove more difficult if it ultimately means more money spent.
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The internet is up in arms over tank-like Edmonton Public Library

As the redesigned Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton, Canada creeps closer to its 2020 completion date, residents of the city have begun to express concerns that the project won't end up as advertised. The building, which sits downtown and serves as the central branch of the Edmonton Public Library system, has prompted an online backlash after photos of the construction site began circulating in the last few days, with many on Twitter comparing the library to a tank or cruise ship.

The complaints have focused primarily on the structure's external appearance, which currently resembles something less graceful than a flagship library branch. It has been compared to everything from a naval destroyer to a fall-out shelter, with some simply calling the building “ugly,” and have laid the blame at the recladding led by Toronto's Teeple Architects. Others have been quick to contrast the Edmonton design to its neighbor to the north, Calgary’s brand new public library, which opened to great fanfare late last year. Executed by Snøhetta and DIALOG, the Calgary project was popular with the general public and remained consistent from renderings through realization, leaving some Edmontonians to wonder what went wrong in their own city.

The design for the new Stanley Milner Library calls for a complete remodeling of the original building. An Asgard zinc cladding is being used on the exterior, much of which is still covered in protective plastic wrapping. Strips of new windows will perforate the outer walls to allow significantly more natural light into the building’s interior spaces. The refreshed facility, which has been closed since December 2016 and is set to open next February, will boast considerably more space for the children’s library, a new venue for Indigenous ceremonies, and improved amenities for audio recording and play. As of right now, though, the sparkly new object promised to Edmontonians in the project’s initial renderings seems duller than expected, and the design has changed considerably over time. Twitter users are correct to notice that certain changes have been made. Structural issues and budget constraints early on prompted Teeple to remove or shrink some of the windows and focus their efforts on interior spaces and services—arguably the most important part of the project. But Pilar Martinez, CEO of the Edmonton Public Library, has joined city architect Carol Belanger and Mayor Don Iveson in urging patience for the public. The building’s appearance, they insist, will improve as it comes closer to completion. Protective materials will be removed, lights will be switched on, people will fill the space, and the full effect of the original design as represented in the drawings will be realized.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Martinez told Global News Canada. She may very well be right, and the controversy at hand may be little more than a distant memory by February, but at this stage in construction, residents can do little more than trust the process.

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Calgary votes not to host 2026 Winter Olympics, only two cities remain

The world is running out of cities that are willing to host the Olympics. Last night, residents of Calgary, Canada, voted no on a special plebiscite to host the 2026 Winter Games, making them the fifth city to drop out as a potential candidate. Stockholm, Sweden, and a joint bid between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo remain the only two finalists, but even their futures are on the rocks. Though Calgary hosted a successful 1988 Winter games, and 11 of the sports venues built for the event still stand, over half the voters rejected the idea to bring the Games back, citing the huge financial risk as something the city wouldn’t be able to recover from. To host the two-week-long event, Calgary, Alberta, and the federal government would have spent an estimated $5.1 billion combined, according to The Globe and Mail. While the city wouldn’t have had to start completely from scratch by building all new architecture, two additional arenas and the athlete’s village would have needed to be built on top of the retrofits and infrastructure upgrades done for the games. Despite support from Mayor Naheed Nenshi and a strong campaign by the Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation, which saw the Games as an opportunity to “put the city back on the map,” the message was clear: 56 percent of voters opposed the project. Critics say Calgary can now use the budget money it would have invested in the Olympics to take on new, much-needed public projects similar to the dazzling new Central Library, designed by Snøhetta, which opened last week. Though yesterday’s vote was non-binding, the mayor and local city officials say they’ll respect their constituents’ decision and officially suspend Calgary’s Olympic bid at a council meeting on Monday. Finding a solid host site is proving more challenging for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) year after year. Out of the seven countries that submitted bids for 2026, Sion, Switzerland, Sapporo, Japan, and Graz, Austria all withdrew earlier this year. The IOC eliminated Eruzum, Turkey, from the list in October due to its lack of experience hosting large-scale sporting events. Stockholm's plan for the games puts some sporting venues two hours outside the city—a potential cause for IOC concern, and its incoming government coalition is determined to get rid of taxpayer funding for the events. Italy’s joint bid for Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo was just finalized this month after Turin, the 2006 Olympic host city, dropped out of the effort. The Italian government supports the decision but says it won't offer a single euro to help.  The IOC is set to make its final decision for 2026 in June.
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Snøhetta and DIALOG complete a railroad-straddling central library in Calgary

The new Calgary Central Library opened its doors to the public on November 1, a joint project between Snøhetta and Canadian studio DIALOG. The crystallized, aluminum-and-fritted-glass facade of the building’s upper portion belies a warm wood interior, and the entire library rises over an active Light Rail Transit Line that runs from below ground and up to the street level. The six-story, 240,000-square-foot library is expected to welcome twice as many visitors as the previous Central Library, no small feat in a city where more than half of the 1.2 million residents have an active library card. Patrons are welcomed by a massive wood archway at the entrance (made from western red cedar sourced from British Columbia, as with the rest of the wood in the building) shaped in reference to the region’s distinct Chinook arch cloud formations. Inside, past the lobby and atrium, an 85-foot-tall gap was carved that runs all of the way up to an oculus in the roof. According to Snøhetta, each floor was organized on a scale of “fun to serious,” with the livelier programming, such as the Children’s Library, arranged at the bottom of the building, and quieter study areas at the top. Visitors can ascend a sinuous central staircase below the oculus, and peer into the open floors and the stacks at each level. Vertically-striated wood slats were used to clad the edges at each section, extending and refining the woodwork seen in the entrance arch. At the very top is the Grand Reading Room, which, although unenclosed like the rest of the library, is meant to be the most intimate space in the building. Although faced with a difficult site, the design team chose to accentuate the necessary train tunnel at the Central Library’s northern corner. This is where the building’s curved sides join together to form a prominent “prow,” and where an inviting “living room” has been situated. The facade is made up of scattered, rhombus and triangle-shaped panels and windows. The density of the panels has been modulated depending on the level of privacy and sunlight required for each area, and openings carve out views for the spaces that look out over the city. Those strategic cuts also allow curious pedestrians to look into the library, which Snøhetta hopes will entice community members inside.