On Dec. 31, 2017, the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa will unveil the Kipnes Lantern, a three-storey, multi-sided signature element of the newly-rejuvenated NAC. The $225-million project was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects.
Located above the new Elgin St. entrance to the NAC, the Kipnes Lantern features the largest transparent LED screen in North America. The lantern will showcase productions taking place on NAC stages, as well as productions on the stages of performing arts organizations across Canada.
When not broadcasting productions, the screens will showcase digital shorts created by Montreal’s Moment Factory throughout the year to convey wonder and whimsy to the city. The Kipnes Lantern will also recognize events of national importance, including Canada Day, Remembrance Day and National Indigenous Peoples Day.
The idea for this “fifth stage” at the four-stage arts complex was dreamed up by NAC CEO Peter Herrndorf and architect Donald Schmitt during the planning stages of the complex, in an effort to transform the mid-century Brutalist structure into an inviting and transparent facility that engages with the city.
“The unique see-through technology of the screen complements the transparency established in the new public wings that enwrap the NAC and provide connection with downtown Ottawa and outstanding views of nearby landmarks,” said Donald Schmitt, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release.
Vancouver-based ClearLED provided the transparent digital screens on four sides of the Kipnes Lantern, as well as smaller fin screens along the Elgin St. façade.
The National Arts Centre revitalization was inaugurated on July 1 with the opening of improved spaces for performance, new wings for audience and presentation events and reorienting the building to open onto the city. New events space along the Rideau Canal and further improvements to the NAC’s theatres are set to open in 2018.