National Music Centre designs

The five finalists for the Cantos National Music Centre/King Eddy redevelopment are in. All five deserve credit for innovative designs that promise to break us out of our architectural no-man’s land. They are all unique proposals to spur the long-awaited East Village concept.

That said not all the offerings are equal; from the familiar to the institutional to the good concept bad design category Here are the outside shots for you to judge.

Allied Works Portland Oregon.

This proposal has a unique element — you can play the building like an instrument. The specifics are light but the whole building will come alive with the interaction of visitors.

The design is intended to celebrate our surroundings but maybe that’s not such a good thing. Interesting concept but this building lacks in elegant design. The boring Plus-15 connector is disappointing.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

This is an amazing concept. A sleek elegant tower jutting out from the old King Eddy which is intact at the base. The slight shift downward towards the new fourth street underpass allows for windows to give a view into the club. The bar will occuppy all four floors with mezzanines.

The tower is slanted outwards on the sides and there is an angled rooftop which houses a performance space. The slanted roof is mirrored to allow a view of the street below.

Projections can adorn the outside wall with the hope of outdoor concerts (at least according to the images). This is a striking and smooth proposal.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Um I thought they already completed the Royal Ontario Museum additions.

This one is too familiar to much a copy of something that is beautiful. Imitation may be flattering but it’s insulting to try and create something familiar to heighten Calgary’s architectural landscape. We need innovation not re-creation.

That said the interior space looks beautiful with lots of light and floating stairwells. I wonder what the concerns are for the collection with so much light pouring in?

There is also a very cool glass insertion that is surrounded by the old King Eddy Structure. It looks like an amazing adaptation to the old space.

Saucier + Perrotte

This is an ambitious and wonderful design. Lots of open glass good incoproration of the old space. There is also a wonderful bridge between the two buildings that is far more design-conscious than a typical Plus-15 over the street.

Opening up the base of the old King Eddy to street level and the ability to open the lobby to the street is welcoming and engages well with the community everyone hopes will develop in the area.

Innovative and beautiful.


This one has me stumped. It’s beautiful and institutional all at the same time. I worry about having an obolisque put down in the middle of the East Village. It emulates the worst of City Hall which opens up to the city on the west side and turned it’s back with a giant wall to the East Village.

This is a giant wall seperating the Village from the Beltline just in time for the two to be connected by the fourth street underpass.

However the open spaces that float amongst the black wall and the giant atrium designed to funnel the museum’s noise and music down through the building are wonderful. There is a great open space at the base of the collections side and the Eddy is wrapped in glass — as though it is a museum piece as well.

Too daunting? Too institutional? Or a leading contender?