It’s not every consultant’s project that warrants a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, but last week on February 19 the monarch officially re-opened Canada House in London, U.K., a project by Stantec.
Home of the Canadian High Commission, the building sits on Trafalgar Square in the centre of the city. Trafalgar Square teems with tourists and visitors, is dominated by Nelson’s Column and surrounded by landmark buildings such as the National Art Gallery.
As lead designer, Stantec oversaw the renovations to the 200-year-old Canada House. The changes connect it to the adjacent building on Cockspur Street, which means for the
first time in 50 years, Canadian High Commission staff are under one roof.
Cindy Rodych, lead interior designer on the project with Stantec, said: “It’s been so exciting to see the building transformed back to its original Neo-Classical form. Today, Canada House is rich with light and activity. It’s a place where staff and guests can delight in 19th century charm flavoured by 21st century design.”
Key features include a “cascading” staircase within the Queen Elizabeth Atrium which had not been changed since the 1980s. A rooftop terrace with views of Central London was added to Canada House itself, incorporating both a green roof and a green wall. Noel Best, lead design architect, said it “will provide Canada’s guests with one of the most enviable event venues in the city.”
The original library, which was abandoned and filled in during the 1980s, has been restored to its original double height volume, creating an open and light filled workspace. The Trade Department is now on the lower level, and a mezzanine houses a library of Canadian Governor General and Giller Prize winning literary works, and a gallery to showcase the Chancery’s collection of Inuit sculpture.
Meeting spaces and ceremonial rooms are named for each of Canada’s provinces, territories and oceans and eah space embodies the design themes of climate and geography, with everything from art to furniture to custom-made carpets sourced from Canadian artists and artisans. Canadian wood species are also used on elements throughout the building.