Sir John A. Macdonald Building (1930)

144 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario

2015 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award (Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation)

A Classified Heritage Building, the former Bank of Montreal Ottawa Main Branch is a landmark located across Wellington Street from the West Block of Parliament Hill. It won the 1932 RAIC Gold Medal, the most prestigious architectural award in Canada at the time. Its monumental Modern Classical design by Barott and Blackader Architects was the winner of a national competition to design the Ottawa branch of Canada’s oldest chartered bank. The imposing granite and limestone building features exquisite detailing, including Canadian images of industry and commerce, wildlife and nature—overlaid with decorative metal and a stone Art Deco sculptural layer. After the Bank of Montreal relocated in 2005, the building was at risk if a new use could not be found. This stately structure became a fitting replacement to the West Block’s former Confederation Room, used to host Parliamentary events. Public Works Government Services Canada set out with the goal of rehabilitating and celebrating the architectural qualities of the building while leveraging its monumental qualities to a new use. The scope of work included careful conservation and rehabilitation the building’s many heritage elements including its stonework, ornamental grilles, bronze windows, plaster ceilings, marble panels, chandeliers and wood finishes. A sophisticated series of strategies were developed to integrate new interventions addressing such issues as security, multi-media and food services. Objectives were achieved by reinforcing street walls and constructing a contemporary, all-glass Atrium to accommodate support functions and a secure entry while preserving the “temple” view of the existing building’s west façade.

Owner: Public Works Government Services Canada
Architects: MTBA Mark Thompson Brandt Architect & Associates Inc., NORR Architects, Engineers, Planners

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