The design for a new cultural facility in Ottawa, the result of a partnership between federal and municipal institutions, was revealed last week. The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be an innovative city-wide resource to all Canadians, offering access to a rich national collection of knowledge.
"This coming together of library and archives advances the evolution of centres of knowledge and culture and presents new opportunities to access a rich and diverse national collection," said Gary McCluskie, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. "With exhibition and collections space, reading rooms, creative centre, children's area, a genealogy centre and café configured around a large town hall, the new facility will be a welcoming home for the stories of Ottawa residents and all Canadians."
The Diamond Schmitt-designed facility is the product of a collaborative public co-design process that sought input from residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians across the country at every stage of the process. More than 4,000 people contributed their ideas towards the building's final architectural plan. The project's ongoing consultation process is called Inspire555, a nod to the building's future address at 555 Albert Street.
The design draws from Ottawa's history and natural beauty, using physical traits of the nearby Ottawa River for inspiration. The undulating form of the building reflects the river's path, while stone and wood exterior materials reference the escarpment and green space on the western edge of downtown. Large windows on the double-height top floor provide excellent views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills in Quebec.
"The location at a cultural crossroads of a route that traces the three founding peoples–French, English and Indigenous–underscores the spirit of confluence in the building's design and the possibilities for these memory institutions in a modern facility to advance the Canadian story," said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The $193 million development will boast 216,000 square feet over five floors. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2024.
SkyriseCities will be sure to return to this project as progress continues. For more information, check out the associated Database file and Forum thread, and as always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below.
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