Allied Works was selected to design the National Music Centre of Canada (NMC) following an international competition in 2009. The NMC is an entirely new cultural institution dedicated to the music of Canada in all of its forms. It is at once museum, performance hall, interactive music education center, recording studio and broadcast center. Sited opposite the Stampede Grounds in Calgary’s historic East Village, the new NMC, along with the restored King Eddy Hotel, will catalyze the future redevelopment of the district.
The building is a gathering of resonant vessels that hold the many diverse programs, spaces and experiences of the National Music Centre. Nine towers form the body of the building; the vessel walls, clad in terra cotta, rise in subtle curves that merge, part and intertwine, modeled by light, gravity and acoustics. Entering from the street, the building is filled with the reverberation of voices and music, drawing visitors up into five floors of performance, education and collections spaces. The apertures at each gallery create a threshold of sound, introducing the content and programs of the particular exhibition. The spaces between are filled with silence and ambient light; views between the towers frame the city and landscape beyond. Bridging across the street and back again, the building creates a gateway for the new quarter, uniting the artists’ residences, recording studios, the historic hotel and club with the new presentation spaces.