After searching through a field of over 200 artists from around the world, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation has finally settled on the talent whose works will grace the $245 million New Central Library. Los Angeles-based professor Christian Moeller has designed a three-piece 'drinking bird' sculpture for the grounds and a colourful book wall to be installed on the third floor of the library.

TRIO, image via Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

A request for qualifications was issued in 2014 and the response was overwhelming. CMLC received 239 submissions and first narrowed the list down to 35. A Volunteer Art Committee selected the five finalists, who presented their concepts to the group following extensive orientation with the New Central Library project team. The budget for the commission was informed by the City of Calgary's Public Art Policy, which prescribes a "percent for public art." For this project, the policy translates to a $2 million budget.

"In April 2015, in consultation with non-voting members, the committee selected Christian Moeller for his proposal to create an iconic outdoor three-piece sculpture suite and an interior installation for the New Central Library," said Susan Veres, senior vice president of strategy and business development. "His colourful, captivating concepts bring a playfulness to the library experience — a delightful sense of arrival and wonder for all visitors to enjoy, especially children."

FISH, image via Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

The exterior sculpture — "TRIO" — will be erected on the library's east and west outdoor plaza spaces. Constructed of pieces measuring nine to ten metres, the sculpture will move like a pendulum to create a "visual choreography." FISH — the third floor book wall — will be approximately three metres tall and 14 metres wide. Employing nearly 11,000 books, 12 different coloured spines will be assembled to create the image of a fish.

"Christian's art reflects the innovative nature of this project and compliments our vision to create an inspiring place," said Bill Ptacek, CEO, Calgary Public Library. "Beyond their intrinsic artistic merit, his works will reinforce the identity of the New Central Library experience by bringing an enchanting and whimsical experience that will captivate the imagination of children and visitors of all ages."

LRT tracks run through the library's underbelly, image by Forum contributor UrbanWarrior

Moeller's installations will begin construction in August 2018. In February, crews removed the temporary LRT encapsulation structure it built to enable construction of the library. The library, on time and under budget, will be unveiled to the public on November 1.

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Related Companies:  Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Calgary Public Library, Snøhetta