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Additional funding has been earmarked for the new Central Library in order to make it a net-zero facility.

The new funding will allow for:

  • upgrades to the building’s envelope and insulation;
  • triple-glazed windows;
  • solar panels on the rooftop and embedded in the facade;
  • additional sustainable materials; and
  • an indoor green wall.

Here's a new rendering:

Green roof with solar panels


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Additional funding has been earmarked for the new Central Library in order to make it a net-zero facility. The new funding will allow for: upgrades to the building’s envelope and insulation

The new building will be more than just books and DVDs. Here's a list of features from the project's official website: https://inspire555.ca/library-archives-building/ ABOUT Set to o

I am really looking forward to it opening, and think it's appropriate to have such a building in Ottawa. I find it inspiring and inviting to reflexion and curiosity. The current central library and ar

Focusing on design changes, they squared-off the 80s mall/airport looking skylights. I wonder how that might impact the look from the inside. 

The copper on the roof is gone, replaced with grass and gravel. The roof seems less wavy. I don't think these changes will make much difference for those looking at the building from street level. 

The wood columns are now concrete, which provides a better contrast with the wooden wall at the ground floor. More windows at ground level as well.

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The concept drawings of the interior are stunning. Lots of wood accents and sweeping lines. It has a similar look to La Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal.

I love it and am eager to see the shovels hit the ground to get things started.

This will be such a great addition to the city. I do hope though as the LRT station is not adjacent to the library, that they have adequate access easily to and from the station in the plans. At the very least, there are public entrance doors on the side closest to the Pimisi Station.

Do we know a timeline at this point on when things will start?

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I do think the new renderings look better overall, and really happy with the upgrades. Indoor green walls  are amazing tranquility havens, wish it was a more common feature within developments.


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  • 2 months later...

Final design of Ottawa's future central library unveiled

Designs presented at board meeting Tuesday, more to be shared in coming weeks

CBC News · Posted: Apr 13, 2021 7:00 PM ET | Last Updated: April 13

A preview from the final design drawings of the Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada joint facility unveiled during a board meeting Tuesday. These images reflect spaces that will be part of the Ottawa Central Library. (Submitted by Ottawa Public Library)

Ottawans now have a glimpse of the final designs for the city's future central library.

The designs for the $192-million library building were presented Tuesday during a meeting of the library board.


The new library will be located at Albert and Booth streets at the edge of LeBreton Flats, and is expected to open in 2024 or 2025. 

The joint facility is a partnership between the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada, and is being designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects from Toronto and Ottawa's KWC Architects.

A view of the children's section in the final design drawings of the Ottawa Central Library, unveiled at a library board meeting on Tuesday. (Submitted by Ottawa Public Library)

The space will be split 60-40 between the two partners, a previous report said. The building was designed in consultation with Anishinaabe Algonquin communities. It will feature Indigenous art and rooms that draw inspiration from traditional wigwams, also known as houses.

Architect Gary McCluskie detailed how the exterior of the building will be made up of both wood and Algonquin limestone.

Design with pandemic in mind

The design of the library was also updated with the pandemic in mind. That includes automatic, touchless doors, possible one way stair routes, and upgraded air filters.

"It seemed opportune and necessary when you're undertaking a design of a facility that's meant to be and will be a major public destination and you're in the midst of a significant worldwide pandemic," said Simon Dupuis with the joint partnership.

"It makes us better prepared to deal with this pandemic and future pandemics and at the end of the day, just makes it better or [a] more usable space and gives us the flexibility to adapt to any other sort of changes."

The board endorsed and unanimously passed the final design of the OPL portion of the joint project Tuesday.

A view of what the west side of the building will look like. (Ottawa Public Library Board Meeting)

An OPL news release said the design plans will next be presented to the National Capital Commission's public board of directors on April 22.

It's expected they'll be widely shared with the public in the coming weeks.

Construction on the project is expected to begin this fall.

Honorary chair announced

At the meeting, the library board's ad hoc fundraising committee also introduced former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, who will act as a spokesperson and honorary chair of the Ottawa Central Library fundraising campaign.

"I think it's going to, as I say, be one of the most important buildings in the last two decades for Ottawa and it's going to clinch a renewal of that part of the city," McLachlin said in an interview with CBC following the meeting.

A view of what the Ottawa Central Library will look like from Albert Street. (Ottawa Public Library Board Meeting)

The OPL hopes to raise $10 to 15 million over the coming years to help pay for state-of-the-art programs at its new home.

"Ms. McLachlin embodies the Canadian spirit of democracy, inclusivity, knowledge and creativity, which is at the foundation of this new library," wrote OPL chair Matthew Luloff in a news release. "We are fortunate to have someone of her stature and influence joining us as we take on this ambitious campaign."

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This is cool and all, but honestly are there studies or something that actually shows a demand for a central library, especially in 2021 and the post-covid world?

Out of the million people living in Ottawa, how many actually go to libraries nowdays? I'm not sure it's high enough to justify this new building, unless they are planning on closing smaller libraries? 

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The new building will be more than just books and DVDs. Here's a list of features from the project's official website: https://inspire555.ca/library-archives-building/


Set to open in late 2024, the OPL-LAC 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 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.

The building will have the following spaces:

Shared spaces

  • Entrance plaza
  • Outdoor space for programs, activities and gathering
  • Main entrance and Town Hall, featuring a café and gift shop
  • Multipurpose room
  • Gallery for rare and unique collections, travelling exhibits and community exhibits
  • Genealogy Centre
  • Building services and storage

Ottawa Public Library spaces

  • Entrance and self-service kiosks
  • Community services
  • Children’s Discovery Centre
  • Creative Centre
  • Teens’ Centre
  • Adult fiction and non-fiction
  • Living Ottawa: past, present and evolving community history
  • Service Coordination Centre
  • Corporate services and operations

Library and Archives Canada spaces

  • Entrance and Orientation space
  • Reference services
  • Reading room
  • Preservation lab




Encompassing over 216,000 square feet, the new building will feature shared spaces, such as the Town Hall, café and large multi-purpose meeting areas, along with spaces devoted to specific uses of the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada. Read more about the spaces below.

Learn more about the exciting new spaces coming to the new facility:


The architects have created a design that connects to our nation’s rich history and natural beauty: its shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River; its stone and wood exterior reflects the escarpment and the surrounding greenspace.


This large public atrium will have three grand entrances from the exterior and feature views up to the multi-storey spaces above. The Town Hall will provide access to the two partner organizations; OPL’s Library Entrance and Express and LAC Entrance and Orientation. There will be clear views throughout the different sides of the atrium to the exterior landscaping of the building which, along with the many skylights in the ceiling will allow for lots of natural light to pour into the building. The Town Hall is intended to act as a large community living room, it will be a casual space for people to chat with friends, lounge and read. Alternatively, it may also function as a large programming space and will on occasion accommodate events such as banquets and receptions.


Located off the great hall, the LAC Entrance/Orientation component is the first point of contact with Library and Archives Canada for its clients and the public. Welcoming staff and digital tools designed to promote self-service exploration of the range of LAC’s services and resources will guide you through the services and resources of the federal institution. A “treasures room,” showcasing the wide variety of the national collection with some of its most extraordinary items, will be a highlight for any visitor.


The multipurpose room is located on the north-west side of the building with beautiful views out onto the landscaped greenspace outside. This room will hold around 320 people and is intended have retractable seating, so it can be set up like an auditorium and host speakers, authors, performers, etc. The seating can also be retracted and would leave a large flat-floor multipurpose space that could host events, weddings, workshops, and more.


A ground floor café greets you at the north west entry, overlooking the remarkable views to the north.


A glass-fronted preservation lab at the east entrance will showcase the conservation process that helps restore and preserve the rich collection of our national archives for present and future generations of Canadians.


The Children’s Discovery Centre is an exceptional, vibrant and playful environment that stimulates the social experience and imagination of children through creative and constructive play activities at the same time as encouraging reading and listening skills. This large area includes play areas, discovery areas, a creation centre, an early literacy centre, research computer stations, group and individual seating, a multipurpose room for education programs, and a collection of over 20,000 items.


Living Ottawa is an area of the library that houses a collection focusing on published materials that deal with all aspects of past, present, and future life in Ottawa. It is an area that focuses on preservation of historical materials, as well as the recognition and celebration of what is happening today as the history of tomorrow. This space is adjacent to the shared genealogy space with Library and Archives Canada and should provide a lovely compliment to one another.


A museum-quality exhibition gallery will showcase the heritage and culture of Canada and its capital. The Exhibition Gallery will feature rare items from Library and Archives Canada, artwork and artefacts from the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa community, and Ottawa City Archives.


The impressive two-story reading room gives access to Canada’s extensive documentary heritage collection (22 millions of books, plus maps, films, photographs, newspapers, stamps…) while also providing a contemplative atmosphere with views to the river and Gatineau hills beyond. It aims at inspiring visitors and researchers, encouraging curiosity, generating new knowledge and instilling pride in our shared history.


If you are looking for documentation on military history, sports archives or Indigenous matters, the Reference Room is a key part of the Library and Archives Canada spaces. It offers access to online and onsite research tools, as well as a team of experts to guide beginners as well as more experienced users.


The Jacob M. Lowy Collection is Canada’s national treasure of old and rare Hebraica and Judaica. Its intellectual scope spans religious, scientific, historical and philological thought emanating from presses in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It now comprises approximately 3000 volumes printed between the 15th and 20th centuries.


LAC and OPL have brought together their extensive genealogical collections to create a world-class research Centre at the heart of the facility. A must stop for all people interested in genealogical search!


The state-of-the-art Creative Centre provides access to innovative digital and analogue tools that enable creation and inspire learning at any age or stage of life.


The Indigenous Space, developed in collaboration with local host Algonquin communities will showcase indigenous culture, languages and knowledge as well as a spot for indigenous gathering.

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I am really looking forward to it opening, and think it's appropriate to have such a building in Ottawa. I find it inspiring and inviting to reflexion and curiosity. The current central library and archives are both due for a refresh and more capacity. It will be a "jewel" for both OPL and LAC. Diamond Schmitt really can (and has) done some stunning work and I believe the OPL-LAC project is one that is fit for the city.

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7 minutes ago, Antoine said:

After reading the "Spaces" section, although I think some aspects aren't necessary, the whole project makes more sense. Thanks for the info

No prob!

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A CTV article with different renderings.

A look at the new $192 million library and Library and Archives Canada building at LeBreton Flats

Peter SzperlingMulti-Skilled Journalist

@ctvpeter Contact

Published Wednesday, April 14, 2021 6:40PM EDT
Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library Board received a look at the design for the new Ottawa Public Library main branch and Library and Archives Canada. (Photo courtesy: Diamond Schmitt Architects)

OTTAWA -- If you’ve been curious as to what Ottawa’s future central library will look like, new artists’ renderings will give you a better idea.

The new building, which will house the Ottawa Public Library main branch and Library and Archives Canada has a finalized design.

The Ottawa Public Library Board reviewed the designs for the $192-million project during a meeting on Tuesday, which is expected to officially open in 2025.

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, is getting behind the project, as the Honourary Chair of the Ottawa Central Library Fundraising Campaign.

"I think it’s an amazing design," McLachlin says.

The facility will be more than just a place to house books.

"It will be a place of gathering, a place of meeting; a place where people can come regardless of their social status or background - it’s an equalizer in that sense.  It’s a connector, it will connect people," McLachlin tells CTV News Ottawa during an interview.

"The way in which libraries, public library and in this case the Library and Archives Canada; both of them saw (the) project as an opportunity to really take a step forward in the 21st century," says Gary McLuskie, principal architect with Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Ottawa Public Library

The stone and wood exterior reflects the adjacent escarpment, and its shape is reminiscent to the flow of the Ottawa River.   The design, having input from residents and First Nations Indigenous communities.

"It’s definitely affected the architecture of the project," says McLuskie, "For example, we have a very specific round room, Wig-Wam iconography very central to that, and in all cases done in consultation with the community."

McLuskie also says the building will be home to Indigenous art throughout the facility.

“This is going to be the centrepiece of the Lebraton Flats redevelopment, and certainly a world-class building,” says Ottawa Library Board chair and Coun. Matthew Luloff.

Luloff says that the facility will also provide exhibition and event spaces, areas for the community to gather.

"This is a people centred building, and I know that it’s difficult to imagine that a year into a pandemic, but this a building to bring people together."


The more I look at the updated design, the more I prefer it to the old one. I love the new look of the east-side of that back-end, the green wall in the atrium and the square louvers along the ceiling as opposed to the 80s mall/airport arches they had initially. 

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