April 29, 2019

University of Calgary's new City Building Design Lab receives $1.5 million in funding at official opening

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape celebrates new name and renewed vision

On April 26, the newly named School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape celebrated the official opening of the City Building Design Lab (CBDL) by accepting a $1.5 million investment from the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).

The faculty, formerly known as Environmental Design, is occupying the main floor and basement of the former Central Library building in partnership with CMLC. The funding – CMLC’s largest single investment in its history – will support programming over five years at the city-centre location.

“The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape is focused on city building, and the new City Building Design Lab puts our students and researchers at the heart of the action in downtown Calgary,” says the faculty’s dean, Dr. John Brown. Brown is pictured above, left, with Councillor Druh Farrell during a tour of the new City Building Design Lab.

“We’re in the East Village, one of Calgary’s most dynamic urban neighbourhoods, across the street from City Hall, and within walking distance of most major architecture, planning, and landscape architecture offices. Our presence adds a new creative vitality to downtown, and our exhibition gallery and event space are ideal places to invite the citizens of Calgary to join us in an ongoing discussion about what kind of city we want to build for the future.”

Outfitted with a robotic arm, 3D printers, robotic fabrication and a full gallery of projects, the City Building Design Lab is a unique space to Calgary’s city centre that brings together students, faculty, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and city officials to produce leading-edge research and explore innovations in environmental design.

“As students, we are excited to be part of the activation of the City Building Design Lab,” says Meghan Lamb, master's student in architecture.

“This move coincides with the positive urbanism themes we study every day and will give us a new, exposed place in the downtown core to make an impression on the public. This building was always a place for gathering, learning, and sharing — we are honoured to carry forward its legacy.”

“The legacy of the building is a concept that we carried through our year-end show, Making Our Mark, which will open to public on May 1,” adds Master of Planning student Edward Spink.

“The annual exhibition is a chance for the public and our industry stakeholders to see graduating students’ studios and a selection of other years’ work, demonstrating to the public how our projects, though theoretical, deal with real spatial issues and aim to enhance Calgary through environmental design. I’m excited to see how students, researchers and community builders can work collaboratively to develop new innovations for the future of city building in Calgary and beyond.”

In addition to elevating Calgary into a world-class incubator for design research and development, the City Building Design Lab will begin attracting design professionals to the city for community events, symposia, lectures, workshops and more.