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Latest Updates: OPL-LAC Joint Facility

Image of rendering of future Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Joint Facility

Sep 11, 2020

September already! Good news: the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Project Team and architectural firms have continued their design work over the past few months.

Here is some of the latest news on the project:

  • Progress on the design of the OPL-LAC Joint Facility is being made: the focus is now moving to the interior materials and detailing of the interior spaces (“look and feel”).
  • The colours and textures from natural elements are also inspiring the interior design of the Joint Facility. For example:
    • the colours from the sunset over the Ottawa River may inform the accent walls.
    • the escarpment, the river and its textures may inform the materials used for the floors and furniture, to create a textured effect, reminiscent of nature.
  • Acoustics has been a major focus throughout the development of the design. The project team is working with acousticians to implement measures and use technology to provide quiet spaces, as well as amplified acoustics for the multi-purpose space.
  • Three general contractors have been short-listed for the construction of the shared facility: EllisDon, PCL and Pomerleau. The three companies will be invited to submit proposals for preparatory work (shoring, digging and remediation of the site) which is expected to begin this fall. Read more here.
  • The building will comply with the City of Ottawa’s Bird Friendly Design Guidelines. These guidelines are expected to be released later this year. Learn more about the steps taken for the shared facility.
  • The Design Team has met with local Algonquin Anishinabe communities throughout the design process. The relationship with the Algonquin people has been extremely important and the new Joint Facility has been designed with their direction and contributions. In the coming weeks, the project team will also engage with local Ottawa urban Indigenous community members and national Indigenous organizations. The project team will host three videoconference sessions and an online survey to get feedback on how to weave other First Nations, Inuit, Metis cultural elements into the design, services and programming. With this additional feedback, the design will continue to be refined and the Joint Facility Project Team plans to unveil updated renderings in early 2021.

Stay tuned!

For details on this future landmark destination, visit

Take a virtual tour of the Town Hall of the OPL-LAC Joint Facility.



When it comes to the library, location,location ,location is not the be-all to end-all. Acoustics, Acoustics, Acoustics are! When doing research, you actually have to give preference to the voice in your own head. So it cannot be competing with outside noises. Best to avoid high-traffic areas, having a librarian`s desk in the same postal code or on the flight path to the washrooms. Nearness to children not acceptable. If all else fails, perhaps you could consider a similar design to that of the ``Cone of Silence``used on the tv show Get Smart. It proved rather effective. In essence, the library needs to be as quiet as your own home. Thank you for including this most important consideration that can make or break a trip to the library! Respectfully submitted.

Re: Bravo!

We agree, acoustics are very important! Acoustics have been a major focus through the development of the design and we're working on having the right acoustics in the right places. In consultation with acousticians, we'll have quieter spaces in the building as well as acoustics appropriate for gathering spaces, including the auditorium and areas with active programming.  The goal is to reduce background noise from open spaces and allow people to hear each other in spaces meant for learning and engagement.

Public transit and pedestrian access

Interesting news about design, but how will we get there (especially us from Centretown used to walking to the Main branch)? Public transit - The new location is touted as near the LRT Pimisi station, but it is 300m as a bird flies. Will the pathway, if it will exist, be maintained in any way? Cold winter, snow covered path and culture lovers battling it out... No buses stopping anywhere near! Pedestrian access - Right now the pedestrian arrangement at the location is a nightmare of uncoordinated trafic lights. Will the sidewalks be widened and secured for anyone taking a healthy walk?

Re: Public transit and pedestrian access

Getting to the new facility safely is a priority for all of us and we want as many options as possible for people to get there. While the multi-use pathway from the Pimisi light rail station isn't directly part of the Joint Facility project, we will keep an eye on its coordination and development so that there's a safe and clear access pathway.

Energy features

Is the facility going to be "net zero emissions"? Can someone explain this term?

Re: Energy features

That is the plan! Net-zero emissions means that the energy requirements of a building don't emit any greenhouses gases or greenhouse gas emissions are off-set by actions such as renewable power generation or tree planting. In our case, we are committed to making the joint facility a leader in environmental sustainability and significant enhancements are being made to build a net-zero carbon facility, including the installation of solar panels and efficient building materials. These investments in a net-zero carbon facility will result in a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity. This represents the equivalent of about 170 fewer metric tons of CO2 produced per year, the same as taking 37 passenger vehicles off the road.