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

Libraries

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.

 

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