flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Canada to open one of the world’s largest library and archive facilities


Canada to open one of the world’s largest library and archive facilities

The facility’s design resulted from an in-depth engagement with Indigenous peoples.

By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | July 20, 2022
Adisoke North View
Adisoke North View. Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt.

When it opens in 2026, Ādisōke is expected to be one of the largest library and archive facilities in the world. 

With work now underway, the 216,000-square-foot, $326 million facility will house the Ottawa Public Library’s new central branch as well as Canada’s national library and archives. Ādisōke will offer free and open access to millions of documents and Canada’s documentary heritage. It will be the first new building in the Parliamentary District in nearly 30 years. 

The design by Diamond Schmitt joins the two spaces with an expansive public forum that provides visitors with various services, exhibitions, and meeting spaces. The design references Ottawa’s heritage and natural terrain. The use of Ontario limestone to clad the building echoes the slopes along the site’s adjacent canals, and wood is used both structurally and aesthetically. The facility’s curvilinear roof reflects the flow of the Kichi Sipi Ottawa River. 

Diamond Schmitt’s design is the result of an in-depth engagement process that foregrounded Indigenous stories and histories, as well as Canadian heritage. After researching the facility’s site—a historical meeting place for the Anishinābe Algonquin people—the Ādisōke Project Team recognized the need to engage both the people of Ottawa and the region’s Indigenous communities from the start. Elders and members of the land’s Host Nation named the site Ādisōke, an Anishinābemowin word that refers to storytelling. More than 7,000 people—including residents, Indigenous peoples, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast—have contributed to the engagement process.

“From the moment we began collaborating with the Ādisōke Project Team, the public, and Indigenous communities on this design, our work has been guided by the communities it serves,” Gary McCluskie, principal, Diamond Schmitt, said in the statement.

The five-story, fully accessible facility is also on track to reach net zero carbon emissions—the first public building of its kind in Canada, according to a press statement. In a joint venture with Ottawa-based KWC Architects, Diamond Schmitt designed the interior and exterior with advanced energy saving systems, a green roof, and strategically located skylights. 

On the Building Team:
Design architect and architect of record: Diamond Schmitt Architects
MEP engineer: Arup 
Structural engineer: Fast + Epp
General contractor/construction manager: PCL

Adisoke South View
Adisoke South View. Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt.
LAC Reading Room
Library and Archives Canada Reading Room. Courtesy Diamond Schmitt.


Related Stories

Cultural Facilities | Aug 5, 2022

A time and a place: Telling American stories through architecture

As the United States enters the year 2026, it will commence celebrating a cycle of Sestercentennials, or 250th anniversaries, of historic and cultural events across the land.

Libraries | Jul 5, 2022

Libraries, despite digital disruption, remain community assets

Washington D.C. is executing a master plan to build local facilities that can adapt to changing technologies.  

Libraries | Jun 21, 2022

Kingston, Ontario, library branch renovation cuts energy use to 55% of benchmark

A recent renovation of the Kingston (Ontario) Frontenac Public Library Central Branch greatly boosted energy and water efficiency while making the facility healthier and safer.

Libraries | Jun 8, 2022

Welcome to the hybrid library

Libraries have grown to become the intellectual and social hubs of campus, where, prior to March 2020, students, researchers, and faculty gathered to collaborate and connect.

K-12 Schools | Mar 8, 2022

Design delivers new media messages for schools

Media centers are no longer physically confined to one room.

University Buildings | Feb 18, 2022

On-campus performing arts centers and museums can be talent magnets for universities

Cultural facilities are changing the way prospective students and parents view higher education campuses.

University Buildings | Feb 18, 2022

UPenn converts a library past its prime to a tech-integrated learning and maker

In September 2021, Penn reopened its renovated and expanded library as an open center for cross-disciplinary learning, prototyping, and collaboration. Now called Biotech Commons, the 17,000-sf building supports new modes of research by offering a range of spaces and services that is free to be scheduled by any student or faculty member.

Libraries | Nov 22, 2021

Atlanta’s Central Library completes its $50 million renovation

Cooper Carry in association with Vines Architecture designed the project.

Giants 400 | Nov 19, 2021

2021 Cultural Facilities Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. cultural facilities sector

Gensler, AECOM, Buro Happold, and Arup top BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest cultural facilities sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2021 Giants 400 Report.

Libraries | Sep 22, 2021

Three libraries in California were built in less than two years under a P3 contract

A nonprofit with tax advantages funded the project.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category


Welcome to the hybrid library

Libraries have grown to become the intellectual and social hubs of campus, where, prior to March 2020, students, researchers, and faculty gathered to collaborate and connect.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: