Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects have designed the Ottawa Public Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. In partnership with municipal and federal institutions, the facility will create an “inspiring place for gathering, learning and discovery”.
Located in the Canadian capital, the project will generate an “exhibition and collections space, reading rooms, creative center, children’s area, a genealogy center and café configured around a large town hall”. Created for Ottawa residents and all Canadians, the Public Library and Archives Joint Facility has a unique design process. In fact, it was a joint venture with the public, who had the chance to provide input and comment at every stage of design. Residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from coast to coast contributed therefore to this new addition in the city.
This coming together of library and archives advances the evolution of centers of knowledge and culture and presents new opportunities to access a rich and diverse national collection. -- Gary McCluskie, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The creative process consisted of four public workshops and online feedback. Major resolutions included “creating an accessible, iconic destination, a place to spend time, not be merely transactional, with views, connection to nature and have a multitude of offerings and a mix of quiet and vibrant spaces”. Scheduled for opening in 2024, the building’s design is inspired by Ottawa’s rich history and natural beauty. Actually, the architects opted for stone and wood exteriors in order to reflect the surroundings on the western edge of downtown.
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. -- Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
Diamond Schmitt Architects, currently working on the Ingenium Centre in Ottawa and the re-imagination of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City has created the recent 216,000 square feet joint facility project aiming towards a LEED Gold certification. Finally, “Inspire555 is the name of the ongoing public consultation process; it’s a nod to the building’s future address of 555 Albert Street”.
The reveal of the design of OPL-LAC Joint Facility illustrates the power of connections between institutions and the contributions of more than 4,000 people who came together to inspire all aspects of the design, inside and out. -- City Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair, Ottawa Public Library Board.