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Hundreds gather to inspire the design of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility

Around 200 people gathered tonight at Library and Archives Canada to participate in the first in a series of public engagement activities for the design of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility. The first workshop in the “Building Blocks” phase of engagement for the new facility was kicked off by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, representing the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage; Ottawa Public Library Board Chair, Tim Tierney; Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Samantha Tenasco, an Algonquin Anishinabe Knowledge Carrier from Kitigan Zibi.
The public heard world-renowned architect Don Schmitt explain why this is one of the most exciting sites he has ever worked with. Residents were then asked to provide feedback on preliminary concepts, share ideas and explore hands-on how the new joint facility could take shape on the site. This is an exciting opportunity for the public to give input on the external form and design of the facility, taking into account the functional requirements, the square footage, and the unique location where it will stand.

A second sold-out Building Blocks workshop is planned for the morning of Saturday, March 2 in Hall A of the Nepean Sportsplex.

In early March, all Canadians will be able to visit to view and comment on the preliminary concepts, show the architects what they consider to be the best viewpoints, what they think could be the site’s most interesting features and landmarks, and how they might plan on arriving at the site.

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.

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