Request for Qualifications – Parliamentary Precinct, Ottawa – Architectural design competition for Block 2 | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Request for Qualifications – Parliamentary Precinct, Ottawa – Architectural design competition for Block 2

Public Services and Procurement Canada, has officially released a Request for Qualification (RFQ) for an architectural Design Competition for the redevelopment of Block 2, an important landmark site facing Parliament Hill.

The RAIC is endorsing this competition and has designated Professional Advisors to support and oversee this competition. The selection of the jury has been overseen by the RAIC. The independent and professional jury will recommend the winning design and team. 

The Request for Qualification is available on Buy and Sell

Block 2 description

Block 2 is the city block immediately south of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, within Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. It faces the Centre Block and its Peace Tower to the north. It defines the threshold between the city-owned and Crown-owned lands in the core of the Capital. This prominent site includes empty lots and existing buildings. The block is bounded by Metcalfe, Wellington, O’Connor and Sparks streets.

The Block 2 site has an approximate area of 9,800 sqm and currently consists of eleven separate buildings,many of which are designated heritage buildings including two classified and seven recognized buildings.

The current condition of the majority of buildings is poor with many having gone beyond or reaching the end of their life cycle. Given the important location of Block 2, significant transformation is required to make best use of the site and these buildings for core parliamentary functions, now and for the future.

The design competition

The objective is to transform existing buildings and infill potential within the site, into an efficient and innovative complex that will meet the needs of a modern Parliament as well as the public.

The redesigned block will provide office space for the Senate and the House of Commons, as well as a space for a branch of the Library of Parliament. The redevelopment shall also make provision for retail or other public programming along the Sparks Street Mall.

Following the RFQ, Public Services and Procurement Canada will invite prequalified respondents to a limited, two-stage architectural design competition.

Why a design competition

Architectural design competitions support variety and are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building design and architecture.

The redevelopment of Block 2 is part of extensive work underway within the Parliamentary Precinct. The prominence of the site, the significance of the program and the complexity of the constraints, require the creative set of innovative solutions that a design competition will offer.

The winning design is expected to be of the highest caliber and will complement the image of Canada and its capital on the world stage.

How the competition will work

The design competition will be limited to proponents that have been prequalified through the Request for Qualification. The design competition will be structured as a two stage, limited architectural design competition.

1. Request for Qualification (RFQ)

Interested parties are invited to obtain all available information on the Government of Canada’s procurement information website All questions should be exclusively referred to the contracting authority identified within the RFQ.

  • The RFQ was officially published on December 22, 2020 and is open to all interested parties, who must demonstrate they are qualified to undertake the work.
  • PSPC is inviting architects and related engineering entities to form design teams to respond to the RFQ.
  • Up to 12 design teams will be prequalified to participate in the subsequent design competition.
  • The independent jury will be announced in the near future, while the RFQ remains open.


2. Architectural design competition: Request for proposals

The two-stage design competition will be undertaken as follows.

Competition stage 1

  • This stage is expected to begin in summer 2021
  • PSPC will invite the selected competitors to submit an outline of their design concepts
  • The jury will evaluate the outline design concepts and short-list up to 6 competitors, who will then advance to stage 2 of the competition

Competition stage 2

  • This stage is expected to begin in fall 2021
  • PSPC will invite the short-listed competitors to submit an advanced design concept
  • The jury will examine and evaluate the submissions and recommend to PSPC the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners.
  • PSPC will award prizes for the 3 best designs

More information