KWC, Diamond Schmitt Architects selected to design Ottawa’s new central library


An evaluation committee has chosen its preferred team to design the new joint home for the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada.

The consortium of Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architect and Ottawa-based KWC Architects will tackle the $192.9-million project. While the project was originally expected to cost roughly $168 million, city council approved a budget increase this past spring to $174.8 million plus $18.1 million for a 200-space underground parking garage.

The two architectural firms have worked together previously on redesigning Ottawa’s old train station as a temporary home for the Senate of Canada. Five teams, comprised of architects hailing from Canada, Holland and Denmark, were originally shortlisted from 33 applicants to design the new library.

Last year, city council approved the site at Albert Street and Commissioner Street – 300 metres from the Pimisi LRT station at LeBreton Flats – as the home for the new joint facility. The 133,000-square-foot building will act as the central branch of the Ottawa Public Library, as well as a home to federal library archives. The 2018 federal budget allocated $73.3 million over six years for the project and $4 million annually after that.

Should negotiations and final contract approval go smoothly, public consultation on the new library design is expected to begin in early 2019. The joint facility is expected to open in 2024.