Aerial view of library archive site in Ottawa (Photo: Norm Li)
The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) have recommended Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects design their joint facility for a new central library and archive.
The selection was announced following a review of 33 submissions from architectural firms from around the world, and a shortlist of five finalists.
Subject to successful negotiations and final approval of the contract, the design development work for this major civic building will kick off with a public event. Public engagement and consultations will be integrated into the design process, which is expected to begin in early 2019.
“It’s exciting to see that the recommended architectural team has a track record of design excellence on social, cultural, and educational buildings,” said Tim Tierney, Chair, Ottawa Public Library Board. “Ottawa’s new central library will be an essential public space, and a key destination for generations to come. A place where together we can gather, learn, read, play, be challenged, connect, and relax.”
“This facility will be a unique, state-of-the-art destination combining the creative services of a public library and the public services of a national library and archives, said Don Schmitt, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The chosen site is the southeastern edge of LeBreton Flats, an evolving area along the Ottawa River adjacent to downtown. “This prominent location is an important crossroads both from historical and contemporary perspectives which underscores and values the expanding role of public libraries and access to archives this facility will provide,” added Gary McCluskie, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility is expected to open in 2024. The total project budget is $192.9 million.
Diamond Schmitt and KWC are working in joint venture on the transformation of the Government Conference Centre, formerly Ottawa’s central train station, to become the interim home of the Senate of Canada, to open in 2019.