The design for the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility has been revealed.
The building’s design draws from Ottawa’s rich history and natural beauty with a dynamic form reminiscent of the nearby Ottawa River; the stone and wood exterior reflect the adjacent escarpment and surrounding greenspace on the western edge of downtown. The windows, top floors and rooftop offer unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills in Quebec.
The design by Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects will create an inspiring place for gathering, learning and discovery. The project will target a minimum of LEED Gold.
“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,” said Gary McCluskie, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The planning included a public co-design process that asked residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from coast to coast to provide input and comment at every stage of design.
At four public workshops and with online feedback, major themes included creating an accessible, iconic destination, a place to spend time, not be merely transactional, with views, connection to nature and have a multitude of offerings and a mix of quiet and vibrant spaces.
“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 joint facility has a total 216,000 square feet over five floors. Ground breaking is scheduled in 2021with the opening expected in 2024.