The National Music Centre, formally the Cantos Music Foundation, held an exciting design competition to find an architect to deliver this iconic facility. After an extensive worldwide search, and impressive presentations from five international architects, Allied Works was selected to design Studio Bell, a facility like no other in Canada. Their concept for the project was named a finalist for Cultural Future Projects at the World Architecture Festival in 2010. Subsequently Kasian Architecture was selected to work with Allied Works and to provide local support for the project.
Studio Bell is located in Calgary’s East Village, an area that was once at the bustling centre of the city in the early part of the 20th century. The design includes the integration of the oldest hotel in Calgary and Canada’s oldest blues bar, the King Edward. Studio Bell is dedicated to Canadian music. It integrates the National Music Centre Collection, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, education and public programming, artist in residence programs, a performance hall, recording studio, and broadcast centre. In addition to being a cultural hub, it also serves as a catalyst for the revitalization of Calgary’s East Village.
This project presented a number of exciting structural challenges including the re-purposing, historic preservation, and integration of the original King Edward Hotel. The highly expressive architectural form resulted in a large number of inclined columns that made the new east and west blocks want to lean towards each other. RJC resolved this by utilizing the +60 bridge connection. The bridge spans over both 4th Street and the King Edward Hotel, acting as a structural brace between the two buildings. RJC also designed and detailed the free form cantilevered feature stairs, conducting dynamic analysis to ensure public comfort.