New life for Calgary’s planetarium

One of Calgary’s most famous pieces of architecture has a new tenant.

Contemporary Calgary wants to transform the planetarium into a major art gallery – a process that could take years and millions of dollars.

“There is vast space and compressed space, a lot of exciting pieces to the building,” said Kevin Harrison of Sturgess Architecture.

“It’s a massive endeavor but we have ambition we have desire and commitment,” added Erin O’Connor of Contemporary Calgary.

The planetarium, on the West side of downtown, has sat vacant for three years – ever since the Science Centre moved out.

Contemporary Calgary says the structure has a lot of potential.

“It’s a heritage site excellent example of that quirky mid century architecture so we made that decision we need to keep it we also need a contemporary art gallery and have needed it for years,” said Druh Farrell, Councillor for Ward 7.

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Richard Brown, of the Alberta College of Art and Design believes Calgary’s youth will benefit.

“I think it’s going to do a lot for arts in Calgary for young people all our students see these kinds of centres in other cities and they don’t see it here in Calgary,” said Brown.

The first phase will see the gallery housed in the shed and a newer 7,000 foot open space.

Over time the entire building will be put to use.

It’s anticipated the new gallery will open next spring.

WATCH: Mark Tewksbury gives Leslie Horton a tour of the planetarium.