Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Awards of Excellence — 2019 Certificate of Merit

West Block Rehabilitation Project
Award Category: 
Awards of Excellence
Innovation in Architecture

West Block Rehabilitation Project
Parliament Hill
Ottawa, ON

Completion: 2018
Client: Public Services and Procurement Canada
Architects: Architecture49 and EVOQ Architecture

The restoration of the West Block, the oldest of the three Parliament buildings, was one of the most significant rehabilitation projects in North America. The project modernized the 19th-century building with state-of-the-art facilities and preserved the heritage and character-defining elements. It also designed a contemporary addition for an interim House of Commons under a glass canopy roof within the courtyard of West Block.

It was the first time in 100 years that a new House of Commons was built and the government relocated from Centre Block. The Parliament buildings are classified federal heritage buildings and the finest examples of neo-Gothic architecture in North America.

The project demanded significant research and knowledge of the architecture and construction systems of the era. The architects formed an integrated team and led all technical design consultants to achieve the complex performance requirements for the legislature to operate while Centre Block is upgraded.

The glass roof designed to span the courtyard demonstrates how contemporary and traditional architecture can co-exist. The surrounding Gothic Revival architecture inspired the design of the structural columns. The enclosed courtyard is a broadcast-ready space that meets the technical challenges of acoustics, sunlight, comfort, and energy efficiency.

Jury Comment(s): 

“Pulling off a successful project of that size with so many different levels of complexities definitely required imaginative and innovative management practices from its leaders.”

“The very stringent program requirements from the heritage point of view while stabilizing the structure meant that this was not a run-of-the-mill project.” 

Jury:

Richard Henriquez, CM, FRAIC
Founding Principal, Henriquez Partners Architects
2005 RAIC Gold Medalist
Vancouver, BC

Sergio Morales, MIRAC
Co-founder, Chevalier Morales Architectes
Montreal, QC

Johanna Hurme, FRAIC
Co-founder, 5468796 Architecture
Past Chair, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
Winnipeg, MB

Click for full version: 
West Block Exterior

West Block Exterior

Photo: Tom Arban

Courtyard - Coats of arms

Courtyard - Coats of arms

Photo: Tom Arban

Courtyard - Heritage & Contemporary

Courtyard - Heritage & Contemporary

Photo: Tom Arban

Chamber - Speaker's Chair - closer view

Chamber - Speaker's Chair - closer view

Photo: Tom Arban

Courtyard excavation up to footings

Courtyard excavation up to footings

Photo: Jayant Gupta

Tree Column - placement of branch

Tree Column - placement of branch

Photo: Christopher Blood

Infill roof - attic and tree column interface

Infill roof - attic and tree column interface

Photo: Jayant Gupta

Infill roof - installation of skylight IGU

Infill roof - installation of skylight IGU

Photo: Jayant Gupta

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