Online engagement begins for new OPL, Archives building

OTTAWA –  Building off the first set of in-person engagement events, starting yesterday and continuing until March 24, all Canadians are invited to visit to help inform how the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility will take shape on the site at 555 Albert Street in the heart of the National Capital.

World-renowned architects – Diamond Schmitt Architects and Ottawa-based KWC Architects – are looking for inspiration from Canadians to design this iconic installation that will become a must-see attraction in Ottawa when it opens in 2024.

In the first of a series of four online activities, a video will help Canadians discover the site where the new joint facility will live. Participants will be able to tell the architects how they plan to arrive at the site, what they consider to be the best viewpoints, and what they think could be the site’s most interesting features and landmarks.

Ottawa residents and residents from across Canada will also be asked to provide feedback on the architects’ preliminary concepts based on how they take advantage of the site and how the concepts bring to life the unique partnership of a foundational national institution and the municipal library of the Nation’s Capital. It’s a unique opportunity for all Canadians to help imagine a facility that will unite the richness of two great knowledge institutions.

The engagement process for the architectural design of the facility has been labeled the “Inspire555 Series,” in a nod to its address, 555 Albert Street, which stands at the western edge of downtown Ottawa, a few blocks from the Parliamentary Precinct, and near Pimisi Station of the O-Train’s Confederation Line.

The Inspire555 Series will include design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures, and online activities and engagement (local and national). Continuing through 2019, there will be three additional phases of in-person and online engagement on a variety of design topics, including “Iconic Features and Sustainability,” “Creating a Landmark Destination,” and “Finishing Touches.” A final design will be revealed at the end of 2019.

A series of meetings are also planned with local Algonquin communities, as well as with local and national Indigenous organizations. Activities include community visits, design-focused meetings and knowledge sharing events.

Set to open in 2024, the joint facility will become a landmark destination built on the shared values of the partner institutions. The facility will deliver a rich customer experience through the Ottawa Public Library’s Central Library and Library and Archives Canada’s public services, exhibitions and events, which showcase Canada’s heritage. The joint programming and services will make this a truly unique offering in Canada. It will be a modern, iconic facility that will respond to rapidly developing technology, growing customer expectations and changing demographics.