The National Arts Centre (NAC), located in Ottawa, recently held a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate its upcoming $100-million architectural revival. The investment is one of the largest made by the Government of Canada to celebrate the nation’s 150th anniversary.
The Centre was originally conceived on Canada’s 100th birthday year, in 1967, in the Brutalist style. The facility’s rejuvenation hopes to create new transparency and a connection with the city while placing the National Arts Centre at the forefront of the country’s performing arts destinations.
The updated Arts Centre will feature a marquee tower designed to modernize the architecture and mark the new entrance, while also projecting performances taking place on the stage. The North Atrium of the facility will act as a public space for education, pre-concert gatherings and small concerts. An upper-level lounge will offer views of Ottawa’s Confederation Square and Parliament Hill. The Centre will also feature a transformed Fourth Stage on Elgin Street, used as a community venue for music. The updates will create a crossroads open to the community to encourage gathering at all times of the day.
“People have often remarked that it is unfortunate that the NAC turns its back to the city,” said Donald Schmitt, Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “Our design will change that. The NAC will finally face the city and its most important public space, Confederation Square.”
“As the NAC reaches towards its own 50th anniversary, we are thrilled that our audiences will be able to enjoy improved performance spaces, public areas for education and events and full accessibility for people with mobility challenges,” added Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of NAC. “More than 1.2 million visitors come to the NAC each year. Soon they will be able to enjoy a warm and inviting space that embraces the capital for the very first time.”
On average, the National Arts Centre hosts 1,300 musical, dance and theatre performances a year. The Centre will remain open for evening performances as scheduled during the 18-month renovation period.
The grand opening of the improved National Arts Centre will be held on July 1st, 2017.