Feds inch forward with major redevelopment of Parliamentary Precinct block

Wellington Street
Wellington Street looking east from Parliament Hill’s West Block. Photo courtesy Government of Canada

Several organizations with a major Ottawa presence are among the firms that have qualified for a design competition aimed at restoring and modernizing a prominent collection of historic government buildings in the Parliamentary Precinct.

Public Services and Procurement Canada said Friday the block facing Parliament Hill bounded by Wellington, Sparks, Metcalfe and O’Connor streets ​– known as “Block 2” ​– will be redeveloped into an “innovative complex that will meet the needs of a modern Parliament.”

The area includes 11 buildings covering nearly 110,000 square feet – several of which are designated heritage buildings – as well as two parcels of vacant land. The feds say the redesigned buildings will provide space for the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament and will also include renovated retail space on the Sparks Street Mall.

Two of the 11 buildings on the block will be dedicated to an Indigenous people’s space and are not part of the design competition.

In a news release, PSPC said the redevelopment plan will feature “a combination of new build components, restoration and refit while preserving the heritage character of the historic streets.”

The 12 firms who qualified for the competition were chosen from a bidding process that closed in March. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada will oversee the competition, which is taking place in two phases.

Each firm’s design concept will be assessed by a jury of design professionals, academics, parliamentary representatives and others who will whittle the bidders down to a shortlist of six finalists. 

The shortlisted firms will then be asked to submit a more detailed design plan in the fall, with prizes for the top three finishers.

The following firms have qualified for the competition:

  • Architecture49 (Ottawa) in a joint venture with Foster + Partners (London) in association with DFS Inc. Architecture & Design (Montreal)
  • BDP Quadrangle (Toronto) in joint venture with Herzog & de Meuron (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects (Toronto) in joint venture with Bjarke Ingels Group (New York), KWC Architects (Ottawa) and ERA Architects (Toronto)
  • Grimshaw Architects (New York) in association with Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker (Montreal)
  • Hassell (Melbourne) in association with Partisans (Toronto)
  • Hopkins Architects (London) in association with CORE Architects (Toronto)
  • KPMB Architects (Toronto)
  • NEUF Architects (Ottawa) in joint venture with Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Paris)
  • Provencher_Roy + Associés Architectes (Montreal)
  • Watson MacEwen Teramura Architects (Ottawa) in joint venture with Behnisch Architekten (Boston)
  • WilkinsonEyre (London) in association with IDEA Inc. (Ottawa)
  • Zeidler Architecture (Toronto) in association with David Chipperfield Architects (London)