NCC approves National Arts Centre revitalization project

A major facelift of the National Arts Centre got a step closer to reality on Wednesday when the National Capital Commission’s board of directors approved the project.


The decision paves the way for construction to begin on the iconic concert hall’s new addition, which will include a striking new entrance on Elgin Street.
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“We’re really pleased that the NCC has given its confirmation that we can get going,” NAC director of communications Rosemary Thompson said. “It means we can build.”

With the grand opening of the new NAC scheduled for Canada Day 2017, crews have an 18-month windows to complete the project. Ms. Thompson said builders PCL and architects Diamond Schmitt have said that’s a makeable deadline.

In December 2014, the Conservative government pledged $110.5 million toward the NAC’s architectural renewal.

On Wednesday, NCC board members effusively praised the design of the new addition, which will also include new performance and public spaces.

“I’m really pleased to see the building will finally have a front door on the street that it should have had on Day 1,” said board member Norman Hotson, an architect. “This will fix what I consider to be a rather ugly building.”

Another board member said the new exterior will turn the NAC into “a shining sapphire right in the downtown area.”

Some work has already begun, but Ms. Thompson said people will start seeing evidence of construction in the next couple of weeks. Work is being done between midnight and 2 p.m. to avoid conflicting with evening performances.

“The public should know that the NAC remains open,” Ms. Thompson said. “All the shows will go on.”

This article originally appeared on on Jan. 20.

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