Centennial Planetarium, Calgary
Photography: Jamie Anholt
Initially not knowing who the end user would be, the design team focused on what they had: a landmark of historic significance that needed a rigorous yet respectful updating to prep it for new use. Adopting a guiding principle of “meaningful contrast” led the team to leave select aspects of the original building not only untouched, but revealed through glass, as one would an art piece. Where new materials were incorporated, care was taken to make the design language visibly different than its surroundings. For example, new gypsum ceilings implement contemporary curvilinear forms which contrast, yet enhance, the adjacent exposed concrete finishes. Careful consideration was also given to the appearance and routing of upgraded mechanical and electrical components. This allowed for the redefinition of space, including the transformation of a large, segregated, former storage space below the dome theatre into a new premier art gallery space.