The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada (OPL-LAC) joint facility was revealed at a ceremony on Jan. 23.
The $193-million, 216,000-sf project is being designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects and will combine the shared resources of the partner institutions to create a place for gathering, learning, and discovery. The new facility will include exhibition and collections space, reading rooms, a creative center, a children’s area, a genealogy center, and a cafe spread across five floors and configured around a large town hall.
The design of the building, which was created with the help of area residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from across the country at four public workshops, draws from Ottawa’s history and natural beauty with a dynamic form reminiscent of the nearby Ottawa River. The stone and wood exterior reflects the adjacent escarpment and surrounding green space on the western edge of downtown while the windows, top floors, and rooftop offer views of the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills in Quebec.
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“The location at a cultural crossroads of a route that traces the three founding peoples – French, English and Indigenous – underscores the spirit of confluence in the building’s design and the possibilities for these memory institutions in a modern facility to advance the Canadian story,” said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a release.
The project is targeting a minimum of LEED Gold. The OPL-LAC facility is currently anticipated to open in late 2024.