Design revealed for Ottawa Public Library - Library and Arch

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|Jan 24|magazine31 min read

OTTAWA, Jan. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - At an event today, Mayor Jim Watson, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and MP for Ottawa Centre, and Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board revealed the proposed architectural design for the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. Born of a unique collaboration between municipal and federal institutions, the facility will be a city-wide resource that offers all Canadians access to a rich and diverse national collection.

The design is the direct result of an unprecedented public co-design process that asked Ottawa residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from across the country to provide inspiration at every stage. This collaborative engagement process helped shape all aspects of the facility, inside and out. Public input informed the shape of the building, its entrances, the interaction and location of its spaces, the indoor look and ambience, the inclusive and sustainable features, the landscaping and public art, and the exterior materials. Public and Indigenous engagement for the facility will continue as we finalize the design and move forward with the next stages of the project.

Following the reveal of a 3-D model of the facility, Donald Schmitt, Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects and Lead Architect for the project, helped bring the building to life by sharing a video walk-through and renderings. Today, the more than 4,000 people who came together in-person and online over the past year to share their ideas and insights with the partners and architects can finally see their inspiration realized.

The design connects the facility to Ottawa's rich history and natural beauty: its shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River; its stone and wood exterior reflects the adjacent escarpment and surrounding greenspace. The large windows and top floors offer unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills. With its central town hall, children's discovery centre, genealogy centre, reading rooms, creative centre, meeting rooms, cafés and stunning views, the new facility will be a welcoming home for the stories of Canadians and Ottawa residents.

When it opens to the public in late 2024, the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a landmark destination in the national capital built on the shared values and passions of the partner institutions: knowledge, history, discovery, culture, creativity, collaboration, and connections. This innovative collaboration between a public library and the national library and archives will offer an enriched experience for customers and clients, bringing together diverse collections, providing exhibition and event spaces, along with comfortable gathering spaces and free and open access to millions of documents and the rich Canadian documentary heritage.

The public is invited to view the 3-D model, meet the architects and celebrate this important milestone at an Open House from 4 pm to 8 pm today in the Alma Duncan Salon at the Ottawa Art Gallery. They can also view the architectural renderings and video, experience virtual reality stations, and share their thoughts at Inspire555.ca.

Quotes:

"After completing an extensive public consultation process, we celebrated a major milestone by revealing the architects' stunning design for our new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility. This signifies a very exciting time in our city and brings us one step closer to getting shovels in the ground. I want to thank everyone involved in this process for their input, their work and their creativity in helping us create this world-class destination for residents and visitors. The inspirational design showcases how this facility is more than just a building with books; it will be a welcoming gathering space for us all."

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

"Today is a very special day as it marks an important step forward in improving the visibility and accessibility of our cultural heritage. The unveiling today of the architectural design of this new world-class public facility in Ottawa is no small feat. Our government is proud to be a part of this project, one of the first federal-municipal partnerships of its kind, right here in Canada's capital city!"

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

"This historic collaboration between the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada will push for unique works of art, programs and exhibition spaces. This design reveal is the next step in creating a world-class destination in the Nation's capital that residents of Ottawa, Canadians and visitors from all over the world can come to experience."

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

"Today is a great day for Ottawa Public Library! I am incredibly proud of the work my colleagues on the OPL Board and I have done over the years to champion this once-in-a-generation project. After a six-year journey, we can celebrate this major milestone for OPL and our great city. Public libraries have always been pillars of their communities, helping people to reach their potential and fulfill their dreams. The reveal of the design of the OPL-LAC Joint Facility celebrates the power of our connection with the community, which came together in an unprecedented public co-design process to inspire the building, inside and out. The result? The OPL-LAC Joint Facility will be a welcoming, beautiful and inclusive space; one where people gather, learn, discover, and explore their creativity." 

Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair, Ottawa Public Library Board

"We are very proud to be revealing the design for an iconic building that truly represents the evolution of libraries as centres of knowledge and culture around the world. It's also a great joy to share this design with the thousands of residents and Canadians who provided so much inspiration at each stage of the process. This has been a wonderful experience for all of us." 

Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects

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About the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Joint Facility

The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a landmark destination built on the shared values and passions of the partner institutions: knowledge, history, discovery, culture, creativity, collaboration, and connections.

This innovative collaboration between a public library and the national library and archives will offer an enriched experience for customers and visitors, bringing together diverse collections, providing exhibition and event spaces, and free and open access to millions of documents and the rich Canadian documentary heritage.

It will be built to a minimum of LEED Gold certification and be accessible by LRT and multi-use pathways for cyclists and pedestrians.

Next steps

Once the proposed design has been approved jointly by the National Capital Commission's Advisory Committee on Planning, Design, and Realty (ACPDR) and the City's Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) as well as the project's Executive Steering Committee, the architects and design team will begin work on the construction documents. Ground breaking is scheduled in 2021, after a thorough process to select a construction firm.

The facility's name will also be selected before constructions begins. It will meet criteria set by the City of Ottawa and the Government of Canada for such buildings.

As indicated above, the facility is set to open to the public in late 2024. In the coming years, the project team will continue to consult with Ottawa residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast on the type of experiences, programs, collections and activities that they want to see in the new facility.

About the partnership

In 2017, City Council and the Ottawa Public Library Board approved collaborating with Library and Archives Canada to build the new joint facility. Ownership will be split, with the City owning 61 per cent of the facility and Library and Archives Canada owning 39 per cent.

The governance agreement between the City, Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada will guide the project, cost-sharing, decision-making and dispute resolution.

About the design team

Diamond Schmitt Architects is a world-renowned Canadian architecture firm established in 1975, with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York. KWC Architects is an Ottawa-based firm established in 1978 that has collaborated with Diamond Schmitt Architects on 12 projects in the last 20 years.

Both firms have won multiple awards, including Governor General Awards, OAA Awards of Excellence, American Library Association, and Ontario Library Association Award of Excellence. The consortium has a proven track record in architectural design excellence and specialized experience with libraries and other cultural institutions.

Location

Council approved the site for the joint facility, which will be located at 555 Albert Street (formerly 557 Wellington Street), on February 7, 2017. The site allows for beautiful landscaping surrounding the facility, which will expand the library and archives experience outside of the building. The site also allows use of multiple access methods – bicycle, walking, LRT, and car – and offers unparalleled green vistas that will be enjoyed by all users and visitors.

Budget

The Council-approved estimated budget envelope for the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility is $193 million, which includes the municipal, federal and parking components of the project.

  • The total project budget, including parking, is $192.9 million.
  • The cost of the joint facility, excluding parking, is $174.8 million.
  • The City's share of the cost is $104.2 million, with $1 million coming from Ottawa Public Library reserves, $3.2 million from Ottawa Public Library development charges, $20 million from land sales and $80 million in debt.
  • The $18.1-million garage will be cost-neutral based on estimated revenue. 
  • LAC's share in the cost of design and construction is $70.6 million.

Ottawa Public Library

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. The OPL extends public access to information and services through the library's 34 branches, physical and virtual (BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca), as well as two mobile libraries and a vending machine-style lending library service. Serving close to one million Ottawa residents, OPL's mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people

Library and Archives Canada

As the custodian of our distant past and recent history, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a key resource for all Canadians who wish to gain a better understanding of who they are, individually and collectively. LAC acquires, processes, preserves and provides access to our documentary heritage and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

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SOURCE Library and Archives Canada