David Chipperfield Architects and Zeidler Architecture Selected to Redesign “Canada’s Most Prestigious Property”

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David Chipperfield Architects and Zeidler Architecture Selected to Redesign “Canada’s Most Prestigious Property”

David Chipperfield Architects and Zeidler Architecture of Toronto, won an international competition to transform the Block 2 Parliamentary Precinct, a 51,000 m² redevelopment area in downtown Ottawa, Canada. As a site of national significance, the project aims not only to provide facilities for democratic government and urban infrastructure, but also to represent a nation’s values ​​and a vision for its sustainable and inclusive future. The project proposes a new public square next to the main building and in line with the Peace Tower, as well as an open space to foster dialogue between parliamentarians, the community and the general public.

The garden atrium is a covered courtyard and a shared social space.  Image © ProspetticaA committee room in the eastern part of the block.  Image © ProspetticaThe project retains the existing buildings and incorporates new net zero additions.  Image © ProspetticaThe new additions use reclaimed copper facades with a wood frame and interior.  Image © Prospettica+ 6

When choosing the winning project, the jury looked for a design that best preserved the heritage nature of the block, looking at different factors, such as how people will interact with these buildings 100 years from now and how they intertwine with the spaces indigenous. . The winning design of what has been called “the most prestigious property in Canadapays homage to the site’s history and urban identity with copper-clad windows that serve as a subtle ‘hat tip’ to the Parliament Buildings it faces across Wellington Street.

Block 2 faces the neo-Gothic Parliament building and houses People's Square.  Image © Prospettica
Block 2 faces the neo-Gothic Parliament building and houses People’s Square. Image © Prospettica

Block 2 is located south of Canada’s neo-Gothic Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa and is the fourth side of the Parliament lawn. The site comprises eleven buildings of varying scales and structural conditions, with multiple layers of heritage features. The redeveloped block will provide office space for the Senate and House of Commons, designated space for the Library of Parliament, as well as living quarters. The building will also include renovated retail space at the Sparks Street Mall.


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Land and resource protection is a concept rooted in Indigenous culture, and is a principle of good governance, sustainability and heritage conservation, so the basis of the design approach was to have minimal intervention and maximum retention for Block 2. Throughout the site, demolition has been largely avoided and new elements have been designed to ensure a circular economy. Recycled materials such as reclaimed copper have been incorporated into the facade, with new materials designed for dismantling and future reuse. The development will be net zero for carbon emissions, incorporating timber framing, highly insulated facades and on-site renewable energy generation.

The project retains the existing buildings and incorporates new net zero additions.  Image © Prospettica
The project retains the existing buildings and incorporates new net zero additions. Image © Prospettica

Across the block, historic structures are woven with new low-carbon and efficient buildings to create a diverse unity, which is facilitated by a simple floor plan on the east and west sides of the block. The six buildings in Block 2 East, which house the offices of the Senate of Canada and two large committee rooms, are connected by common areas and winter gardens. The five buildings in Block 2 West, which house offices for Members of Parliament, are connected by the Garden Atrium, a covered courtyard that functions as a shared social space and a thermal buffer to protect the existing buildings from Ottawa’s extreme climate .

The garden atrium is a covered courtyard and a shared social space.  Image © Prospettica
The garden atrium is a covered courtyard and a shared social space. Image © Prospettica

The final design is expected to be completed by the fall of this year, with construction expected to begin approximately 18 to 24 months after that.

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