New U.K. High Commission aims to be greenest

Friday, March 12, 2021

The new British High Commission in Ottawa, designed by HOK, is a high-performance building that will capture passive solar heat, reduce water usage by 40 per cent, and incorporate locally sourced recycled construction materials.

Additional sustainability features of the LEED Gold-targeted building include extensive daylighting, vehicle charging stations and a program to divert 75 per cent of construction waste for recycling. Ottawa-based Pomerleau has begun construction on the the $35-million project with completion scheduled in 2022.

“We are proud and excited that our new High Commission will be the greenest building in the UK diplomatic network, setting gold standards across the world,” said Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, British Commissioner to Canada. “It will also be less expensive and more efficient to run and maintain in the long term.”

The new three-storey facility will move the British High Commission two kilometers north from a building it has occupied for 60 years in downtown Ottawa. The new location sits adjacent to the commissioner’s official residence on the Earnscliffe National Historic Site. Once the home of Sir John MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister, the Victorian-style Earnscliffe dates to the mid-1800s and lies in a picturesque setting along Ottawa’s ceremonial route and the banks of the Ottawa River.

“The new High Commission building provides a contemporary foil to Earnscliffe, taking subtle material cues from the home’s limestone facade while projecting a bold, forward-looking vision of modern Britain,” said Andrew Butler, HOK Practice Leader.

“Together the two buildings will consolidate the UK’s official functions in one efficient and compact campus. The building uses discreet security measures and landscaping to ensure safety while enhancing the surrounding public space and the serene, manicured gardens of Earnscliffe.”


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