The building – still in the midst of its revitalisation – is being compared to a tank, a battleship, even a deceptive dating profile picture.
The criticism is centred over its current form compared to some original architectural renderings.
“How did we get from A to B? Embarrassing. It’s so ugly,” said one Twitter user.
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The Stanley A Milner Library in the city’s downtown core was built in 1967.
It was closed in 2016 for its C$85m ($65m; £52m) revitalisation, which is scheduled to be complete for a grand opening on 14 February 2020.It’s being billed as a “bright, new and welcoming space” more than three times the size of the previous facility.
The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is urging critics to wait until they see the building’s final form when it opens in six months.
“We appreciate that art and architecture are subjective and we hope that Edmontonians will continue to love and use EPL for the incredible services and spaces we make available to throughout our city,” it said in a statement.
Mayor Don Iveson also told residents to suspend final judgment until construction is over, noting to journalists that “criticism is a summer sport here in Edmonton”.
But on social media people complained about the “shipping container exterior” and wondering why it “looks like a land-locked ship converted to a library”Not everyone gave the building a thumbs down.
“I might be of the unpopular opinion, but I like it. It looks badass and it suits our beautiful and unique downtown,” said one Twitter user.
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Another said: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. And don’t judge an unfinished building by its cladding.”
Others pointed out that residents were lucky to “to live in a city that loves libraries” regardless of what the building looks like.
On Twitter, the EPL did have one tongue-in-cheek response to the building’s critics.