Studio Bell - National Music Centre | ?m | 7s | Allied Works

Mountain Man

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Walked by the other day, there are a few things that still bug me (uneven spacing and tilting of some tiles, and there are still some gaps to fill) but this building has far exceeded my expectations! can't wait to go inside.
 

Always_Biking

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For me those ceramic tiles make the building special. I'm sure that kind of material isn't cheap, but I wish they were used in designs more often in Calgary.
 

CBBarnett

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I went to a show on the second floor theatre space inside the NMC for Sled Island. Wowzers. Easily one of the most acoustically amazing venues I have ever been in (nothing against the artists either, they were incredible). Absolutely incredible from the walk in to entering the theatre space with the artist's vocals reverbing throughout the entire building in a hauntingly clear and chilling fashion.

Only thing comparable I could think of is entering an enormous 13th century cathedral in Europe. While the outside is beautiful, the inside is truly remarkable. Strongly recommend anyone who hasn't to see a performance there.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Cowtown

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Besides a build out of the restaurant/music venue, this seems complete?
I would say it is. When visiting it around Christmas it seemed completed inside and out. The inside needs to fill up some, but otherwise appears done.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Oh yeah, it's been complete for a while. It's just a cool building to shoot and post photos of.
 

Mountain Man

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Still haven't been inside (aside from a quick peek in the lobby while grabbing coffee at Rosso), disappointed they have such limited hours!
 

UrbanWarrior

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Still haven't been inside (aside from a quick peek in the lobby while grabbing coffee at Rosso), disappointed they have such limited hours!
Yeah, we should start calling that the Downtown Calgary Curse. Limited hours, therefore limited exposure, leading to limited impact. *sad trombone*

Hopefully with the ongoing population surge in the core areas, this will start changing soon. I would have thought the change would have started like a couple years ago though.
 

outoftheice

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NMC is now advertising for a kitchen manager for the King Eddy hotel with the job ad saying "The successful candidate will assist the General Manager in building out the King Eddy kitchen, including menu creation, hiring and establishing operating policies and procedures, while working toward a permanent re-opening date for this iconic establishment."

Permanently re-opening the Eddy is the last step in completing the total vision for the NMC. Here's hoping they build something special as it would be great to see live music and drinks available at The Eddy seven days a week!
 

CBBarnett

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NMC is now advertising for a kitchen manager for the King Eddy hotel with the job ad saying "The successful candidate will assist the General Manager in building out the King Eddy kitchen, including menu creation, hiring and establishing operating policies and procedures, while working toward a permanent re-opening date for this iconic establishment."

Permanently re-opening the Eddy is the last step in completing the total vision for the NMC. Here's hoping they build something special as it would be great to see live music and drinks available at The Eddy seven days a week!
An important step. A gem of a building would be an understatement. Truly a beauty!

But programming and execution has been less successful so far IMO. The whole project has a bit too much of the old-school heavy institutional feel to it for my liking, a feeling more common of the Arts Common's era of cultural institutions of the 70s and 80s than the best examples of contemporary cultural institutions. Cold to passerbyers and inward looking; rigid and rule-following rather that organic and experimental; a classic museum rather than a vibrant cultural hub. Not the characteristics of a place that is at the cutting edge of contemporary music culture. I would have rather seen more effort put to "spill" music outside into the city loud and boldly with better indoor/outdoor interactions. Instead the NMC seemed to have followed a similar path as other Calgary institutions: designed for 30-50 year olds, safe, family-friendly.

There is nothing wrong with those outcomes, but where is the celebration of youth, experimentation and counter culture; a major source of music and cultural change? (or to answer my own question, perhaps asking an institution to achieve this is folly to begin with; as institutions, by definition, are the very thing that is being rejected to form new ideas and music).

The King Eddy re-opening will be an important step to address this gap. Similarly, some of NMC's after-hours events have been really great, the King Eddy rooftop bar during Stampede have been good examples of an attempt to "lightening the mood", so to speak. The sound quality and performance spaces are also quite good, when they are open. And I don't want to be too critical as the NMC is only one piece of a musical cultural puzzle, and as UrbanWarrior describes, many external factors influence how the facility is being used by the public. I would have liked to see a bigger chunk of the $250 million go to attract a university music faculty or arts school into the NMC that can really anchor a living musical culture in which NMC was the heart, as opposed to a more traditional museum where people can look at instruments.

Not too late yet though, programming is easy to change and evolve over time. A beauty of a facility like this will be around for a long while so it can still evolve into something more than it is.
 

UrbanWarrior

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An important step. A gem of a building would be an understatement. Truly a beauty!

But programming and execution has been less successful so far IMO. The whole project has a bit too much of the old-school heavy institutional feel to it for my liking, a feeling more common of the Arts Common's era of cultural institutions of the 70s and 80s than the best examples of contemporary cultural institutions. Cold to passerbyers and inward looking; rigid and rule-following rather that organic and experimental; a classic museum rather than a vibrant cultural hub. Not the characteristics of a place that is at the cutting edge of contemporary music culture. I would have rather seen more effort put to "spill" music outside into the city loud and boldly with better indoor/outdoor interactions. Instead the NMC seemed to have followed a similar path as other Calgary institutions: designed for 30-50 year olds, safe, family-friendly.
I agree. In fact, I was showing a guy I was on a date with the building last year and we were going to go inside, upon opening the door, we were rushed by a security guard who was insanely rude, I forget what she said at the time but regardless, it was an honest mistake and they hadn't put up any notable signage that a private event was occurring. And on our way out, two employees who were also exiting said "nice try" as if we were trying to break in or something. It was quite embarrassing for me as I had been raving about hw beautiful and cool this building was to my date who was a friend visiting from Toronto. A really sour experience. I forgot to write a scathing review, but that wouldn't have accomplished much I imagine.
 

Surrealplaces

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An important step. A gem of a building would be an understatement. Truly a beauty!

But programming and execution has been less successful so far IMO. The whole project has a bit too much of the old-school heavy institutional feel to it for my liking, a feeling more common of the Arts Common's era of cultural institutions of the 70s and 80s than the best examples of contemporary cultural institutions. Cold to passerbyers and inward looking; rigid and rule-following rather that organic and experimental; a classic museum rather than a vibrant cultural hub. Not the characteristics of a place that is at the cutting edge of contemporary music culture. I would have rather seen more effort put to "spill" music outside into the city loud and boldly with better indoor/outdoor interactions. Instead the NMC seemed to have followed a similar path as other Calgary institutions: designed for 30-50 year olds, safe, family-friendly.

There is nothing wrong with those outcomes, but where is the celebration of youth, experimentation and counter culture; a major source of music and cultural change? (or to answer my own question, perhaps asking an institution to achieve this is folly to begin with; as institutions, by definition, are the very thing that is being rejected to form new ideas and music).

The King Eddy re-opening will be an important step to address this gap. Similarly, some of NMC's after-hours events have been really great, the King Eddy rooftop bar during Stampede have been good examples of an attempt to "lightening the mood", so to speak. The sound quality and performance spaces are also quite good, when they are open. And I don't want to be too critical as the NMC is only one piece of a musical cultural puzzle, and as UrbanWarrior describes, many external factors influence how the facility is being used by the public. I would have liked to see a bigger chunk of the $250 million go to attract a university music faculty or arts school into the NMC that can really anchor a living musical culture in which NMC was the heart, as opposed to a more traditional museum where people can look at instruments.

Not too late yet though, programming is easy to change and evolve over time. A beauty of a facility like this will be around for a long while so it can still evolve into something more than it is.
I've shared the same concerns as you have about the building, but that last sentence really sums up the situation. The building is built, it's a beauty, and it's not going anywhere......the building itself has done its part. The uses and programming will evolve over time, which I suspect will happen organically as the centre tries to define what it is and see what is the best fit.
 

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