Arts Commons Transformation (ACT)

Renders provided by CMLC

Located in the heart of Calgary’s Cultural District in the downtown core, Arts Commons occupies a full city block and is home to six resident companies: Arts Commons Presents, Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Downstage, One Yellow Rabbit, and Theatre Calgary. Arts Commons also houses rehearsal spaces, a costume and set construction shop, administrative offices, meeting rooms, a café, and the centralized Arts Commons Box Office. Each year, the center hosts more than 1,800 performances and events.

The first phase of the $660M transformation project will add a new building with a 1,000-seat theatre and 200-seat studio theatre to the Arts Commons campus.

The expansion’s dynamic design was supported by specialists in theatre planning and acoustic design to ensure the new theatre spaces exceed best-in-class technical requirements. The 1,000-seat theatre has the capacity to alter the floor layout to several unique configurations to accommodate the broadest variety of productions, and the 200-seat studio theatre’s design will enable multiple configurations with retractable and demountable platform seating and an opening out to the plaza.

“Through their collective experience, local knowledge and proven expertise in major arts and theatre projects, the team has delivered a truly inspiring design—a spectacular three-level building with 162,000 sq ft of modern features and amenities that will elevate Calgary’s growing arts community.”
– Kate Thompson, President & CEO of CMLC, development manager

“The transformation of the Arts Commons campus is a more than half-billion-dollar investment in Calgary’s arts and cultural future,” says Kate Thompson, President & CEO of CMLC, development manager for the expansion and modernization of Calgary’s premier performing arts centre. “Together with our partners at The City of Calgary and Arts Commons, CMLC has been working with the prime design team since early 2022 to advance the concept and schematic designs for this extraordinary city-building project. Today we’re ecstatic to reach a monumental milestone: the public unveiling of the new building’s design.”

The expansion building’s curved form, exterior cladding, and interior finishes are inspired by Alberta’s dramatic landscapes and the regional lodge With a naturally lit, fully transparent ground floor, the design team placed importance on the southeast corner where a gathering circle with a skylight provides space that welcomes Calgarians and encourages visitors to come together and share stories.

The design team also includes an accessibility consultant, ensuring the spaces are inclusive and accessible for The main floor entry and both stages are set flush to the adjacent pedestrian realm to allow for barrier free access to the performance spaces, and boast theatre seating at all levels and multiple central elevators.

Related Media

  • Client: Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
  • Architect: KPMB Architects (Prime Design)
  • Architect: Hindle Architects (Design Consultant)
  • Architect: Tawaw Architecture Collective (Design Consultant)
  • Construction Management: EllisDon
  • Project Management: Colliers Project Leaders
  • Acoustic Consultant: Threshold Acoustics
  • Structural Engineer & Building Condition Assessment: Entuitive
  • Mechanical Engineer: Reinbold/Altieri Sebor Wieber
  • Electrical Engineer: Crossey Engineering (a Salas O’Brien Company) and DesignCore
  • Arts Management Consultant: AMS Planning and Research
  • Cost Consultant: Venue Consulting and A.W. Hooker Associates
  • Accessibility Consultant: Venue Consulting and A.W. Hooker Associates
  • Completion Year: 2028/2029
  • Location: Calgary, Alberta; Canada
  • Building Size: 162,000 SF
  • Size:
    • 1,000-seat theatre
    • 200- seat studio theatre


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