Building Magazine


WEB EXCLUSIVE: Behind-the-scenes look at the LRT encapsulation for Calgary’s New Central Library

2014 has been a landmark year with excitement building for the New Calgary Central Library and striking architectural designs released to the public in September. Beyond the look of what’s being described as Calgary’s most significant civic building in the last 25 years, the LRT encapsulation is piquing curiosity nationwide as an “engineering feat” led by Canadian-based Entuitive, an experienced engineering start-up that’s growing exponentially: from a group of three to a team of 100+ in just three years.

As construction ensues, Calgary commuters will ride directly through the site without their regular route being disrupted, gaining front-row access to Entuitive’s pioneering configuration. The encapsulation itself is a concrete structure that will span a full 12 metres across the LRT right-of-way, which makes up an incredible 40 per cent of the actual site, and will remain intact as a crucial part of the library’s foundation connecting to the regular grid system of the library’s superstructure directly above. This is the first time in the city’s history that an LRT has been encapsulated to facilitate a development over an active transit line.

Covering the LRT is an involved process that will roll out in four steps: installation of foundation and walls; relocation of below-grade services; lowering of contact wire and installation of roof panels.

“We need to start thinking about developing land in new ways, and the New Central Library is a perfect example,” says Brock Schroeder, Managing Principal, Entuitive. “Our cities are growing rapidly, and we need to be creative with design and with space.”

Entuitive has also devised ways to build atop and around active transit in New York with the Manhattan West project, a 240-foot span platform over Penn Station that will soon become a public plaza and an NYC landmark. In Toronto, Entuitive is leading engineering solutions for Garrison Point, the multi-tower residential development being built between two active GO rail lines.

Construction of the encapsulation is already underway and is expected to wrap up in 2015, signalling the first phase of completion towards the New Central Library.

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