New proposal for Château Laurier addition

OTTAWA — The design for the Château Laurier's addition is back from the drawing board, and the new look features a lighter, separated and more subordinate building form than the original controversial version.

OTTAWA — The design for the Château Laurier's addition is back from the drawing board, and the new look features a lighter, separated
and more subordinate building form than the original controversial version. 

During a briefing session held for city councillors Feb. 6 at Ottawa City Hall, Art Phillips, director of development for Larco Investments Ltd., along with Dennis Jacobs, principal planner at Momentum Planning and Communications, unveiled the revised concept for the new hotel addition. 

The new design is a substantial change from the original concept. It is a single, linear, 8-storey pavilion, with a total of 171 suites and is intended to replace the 5-storey existing parking structure. This is significantly smaller than the original concept, which had two attached wings of 11 and 12-stories high with a total of 218 suites. 

Larco’s Team responded to the comments raised by the public and received from the City’s Heritage Working Group. As a result of these consultations, a totally new approach was adopted.

“Over the course of 2017, there has been ongoing dialogue with city staff and input from the general public that has influenced the new design,” said Philips. 

“Our team has been actively participating in the City’s Heritage Working Group meetings composed of experts in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture. Concerns with the original design were identified and recommendations have assisted in the design’s evolution,” he added.

The new addition features meeting rooms on the ground floor instead of suites and a magnificent glass hallway that will run from the existing Hotel’s interior corridor all the way through to the new pavilion providing direct access and connectivity between the old and the new.

Attention has been given to the viewpoints from Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial, by allowing a distinct separation of 18.35 metres from the west or canal side wing of the hotel building, instead of the 5.9 metres in the previous scheme. The distances between the original building and the new addition, allow for the two to be distinctly separate.

The Château Laurier`s signature rooftops are clearly visible from every site view point, especially when looking from Major`s Hill Park, or Parliament Hill. The new addition will include a 5-storey underground garage with 370 vehicular spaces.

The addition incorporates a series of architectural strategies including a lower overall height and a lightened structure to ensure it remains subordinate and complimentary to the Hotel.

The chosen materials of white steel, clear glass and patterned frit ‘rosettes’ inspired from the ballroom coffered ceilings, give the addition an airier quality that appears as a counterpoint to the heavier limestone and copper of the historic castle. The Château`s ballroom windows will be transformed into majestic doors leading into a timeless interior courtyard as well as a green roof on the addition and beautifully landscaped gardens will be added.

The new design concept from Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance follows the direction set forth by the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, a Federal Provincial and Territorial Collaboration. Standard 11 reads: Make the new work physically and visually compatible with, subordinate to and distinguishable from the historic place.

Next Steps

With the resubmission under the ongoing site plan approval process completed, City staff will be circulating the plans for technical and public comment. On February 28, 2018, a public open house will take place at City Hall.

Following the public open house, there will be a public meeting at the City’s Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) as well as at the Built Heritage Subcommittee (BHSC) before preparing a recommendation to Planning Committee and Council.

Larco has also had input from staff at the National Capital Commission, as well as pre- consultations through its Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty (ACPDR) as part of their role, in granting regulatory federal approvals.

Construction could potentially begin in early 2019.