News / Ottawa

Ottawa to hire first central library architect

‘Advocate architect’ will create 3D mockup of building’s structure, from number of stories to room usage.

The city is looking for an “advocate architect” to help design the new central library that will replace this aging downtown location.

metro file photo

The city is looking for an “advocate architect” to help design the new central library that will replace this aging downtown location.

Ottawa’s new central library will start to take shape by the end of this year, but the building costs and location are still unknown.

The city has posted a request for proposals seeking an “advocate architect” – a third party architect to create a 3D design of what the building’s structure could look like. Details will include the number of stories, room usage and total land space.

“It’s like your recipe for the building,” said Ottawa Public Library CEO Danielle McDonald.

While staff will have an idea of where the walls will go, they won’t yet know the paint colours. That’s for the final architect to decide. He or she will be hired through a separate procurement process.

The public likely won’t see the design until a full mockup is completed.

The big questions – costs and location – are yet to be determined. Staff is expected to come before the library board by the end of March with those details. The latest cost estimate is $86 million.

This year, the city has budgeted $3.9 million for planning costs.

Meanwhile, the city has posted the results of a Nanos survey about Ottawa’s library. Basically, the 1,682 people surveyed want it to be conveniently located, near a transit station, with ample lighting.

McDonald said that comes as no surprise, but the survey will reinforce what people want from the library.

If there are no delays, shovels for the new library will hit ground in 2018 and the doors will open two years later.

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