In 2018, the School partnered with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation to activate the Castell Building, the former central library located in Calgary’s city centre, adjacent to City Hall. In February 2019, the School moved into this 24,000 sf space and launched the City Building Design Lab (CBDLab).
CBDLab is an advanced design-based research initiative that bring together graduate students, academics, building industry professionals, municipal policy makers, and the public to explore new directions in city-building. CBDLab helps train the next generation workforce of graduate students and early career professionals in the cutting-edge of city building design, construction, and policy making. It provides continuing education opportunities for established practitioners across the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry, enabling them to increase their competitiveness in the global market. Through an active public outreach program, it elevates public discourse on the future of Calgary and how we can collectively work to achieve a city that is more resilient, sustainable, equitable, and vibrant.
As a teaching resource, CBDLab provides an opportunity for senior students in our three professional programs to study and conduct design projects in downtown Calgary. This is an unprecedented way to experience city building first-hand, interact with city officials and local practitioners, and better under some of the challenges facing our downtown core.
At a research level, CBDLab leverages its central downtown location and unique collaboration between academia, industry, and policy makers around a series of Grand Challenge Research Themes. Students in the graduate research degree programs have the opportunity to work on their projects at the CBDLab, alongside faculty members and other industry and university collaborators.
The City Building Gallery features exhibitions from our community partners and alumni — and delves into broad explorations and discussions about city building. Pop-up events and workshops complement the exhibitions. The Event Hall is a multipurpose open space that hosts over 100 city-building events each year, both large and small. These include block week courses, international symposia, and the School's Design Matters Lecture Series. The studio is an active generative workspace for researchers and their students and also houses senior design studio courses in the faculty's professional programs. The Fabrication Lab contains advanced digital equipment including two robotic arms and a large format (10-foot) 3D printer capable of printing recycled plastic, plaster, and concrete. The lower level of the CBDLab has a series of classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, and workrooms.