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Design unveiled for Ottawa’s OPL-LAC joint facility


OPL-LAC Joint Facility

Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

A ceremony last week revealed the design for the new Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) joint facility, which is scheduled to go to tender at the end of this year and eventually open in 2024.

Designed by architecture firms Diamond Schmitt and KWC, the five-storey, 216,000-sf OPL-LAC facility is budgeted at $193-million through a partnership between the federal and municipal institutions. Its stone and wood exterior are intended to reflect the adjacent escarpment and surrounding green space, while the building’ shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River. Fast +Epp will provide structural engineering, while Arup will handle mechanical and electrical.

More than 4,000 Canadians from coast to coast were asked to provide input and comments at each stage of a public co-design process dubbed Inspire555 (a nod to the future address, 555 Albert Street). Workshops and online feedback developed themes like environmental sustainability (targeting a minimum standard of LEED Gold certification), accessibility, an iconic destination, a place to spend time, connecting with nature and a mix of quiet and vibrant spaces.

“The design of illustrates the power of connections between institutions and the people, who came together to inspire all aspects, inside and out,” says Tim Tierney, chair of the OPL board and a city councillor, at the ceremony on Jan. 23.