Ottawa library/national archives project designers seek public input at “final workshops”

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The designers of the new Ottawa Public Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility say they are offering residents “a great opportunity to contribute to a once in a generation project.”

The upcoming Inspire555 design workshops will be the final of four. “To complete the design, we want to hear your thoughts on what makes a building iconic,” they say in a news release.

Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects are designing the $192.9 million super library at 555 Albert St. that is scheduled to open in 2024.

At this workshop, participants will be asked to provide inspiration into the facility’s features and finishing touches, such as the choices of interior and exterior building materials, and the ways in which it can become an inclusive destination for all.

“In keeping with their commitment to meaningful engagement, the architects will report back on what they heard throughout the Inspire555 process, and how public input has informed the design development,” the statement says.

Scheduled workshops include:

  • Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Shenkman Arts Centre
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Nepean Sportsplex
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St.

People who cannot attend the workshops will be invited to provide input online at Inspire555.ca in November.

The workshops and online engagement are part of a year-long local and national engagement process to inspire the building’s design. Since February 2019, close to 3,000 people have taken part in online and in-person engagement.

The Inspire555 engagement series includes design workshops, pop-up events, and online activities to inspire this new landmark destination. From Building Blocks, which focused on the site, to Spaces and Relationships, which focused on the interior, and Public Art and Landscape, which focused on the exterior, experience and sustainability, the architects have been inspired and influenced by the public’s thoughtful input. As a result, the architects are developing a design that will be truly representative of Canadian, Indigenous and local values.

Meetings and design workshops with Algonquin First Nations communities are ongoing and additional engagement activities and knowledge sharing events are being planned with local urban and national Indigenous organizations, the statement says.

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