Design competition launched for Block 2 in Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct

An architectural design competition has been launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada for the redevelopment of Block 2, a landmark site facing Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont. Photo courtesy RAIC
An architectural design competition has been launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada for the redevelopment of Block 2, a landmark site facing Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont.
Photo courtesy RAIC

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has released a request for qualification (RFQ) for an architectural design competition for the redevelopment of Block 2, a landmark site facing Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is endorsing this competition and has designated professional advisors to support and oversee it. The selection of the jury has been overseen by RAIC also. The independent and professional jury will recommend the winning design and team. The RFQ is available on Buy and Sell.

Block 2

Block 2 is the city block immediately south of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, within Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. It faces the Centre Block and its Peace Tower to the north. It defines the threshold between the city-owned and Crown-owned lands in the core of the Capital. This prominent site includes empty lots and existing buildings.

The Block 2 site has an approximate area of 9800 m2 (105,486 sf) and currently consists of 11 separate buildings, many of which are designated heritage buildings.

The current condition of the majority of buildings is poor with many having gone beyond or reaching the end of their life cycle. Given the important location of Block 2, significant transformation is required to make best use of the site and these buildings for core parliamentary functions, now and for the future.

The design competition

The objective is to transform existing buildings and infill potential within the site, into an efficient and innovative complex that will meet the needs of a modern Parliament as well as the public.

The redesigned block will provide office space for the Senate and the House of Commons, as well as a space for a branch of the Library of Parliament. The redevelopment shall also make provision for retail or other public programming along the Sparks Street Mall.

Following the RFQ, PSPC will invite prequalified respondents to a limited, two-stage architectural design competition.

How the competition will work

The design competition will be limited to proponents that have been prequalified through the RFQ. The competition will be structured as a two-stage, limited architectural design competition.

1. Request for qualification (RFQ)

Interested parties are invited to obtain all available information on the Canadian government’s procurement information website. All questions should be exclusively referred to the contracting authority identified within the RFQ.

Additionally:

  • the RFQ was officially published on December 22, 2020, and is open to all interested parties, who must demonstrate they are qualified to undertake the work;
  • PSPC is inviting architects and related engineering entities to form design teams to respond to the RFQ;
  • up to 12 design teams will be prequalified to participate in the subsequent design competition; and
  • the independent jury will be announced in the near future, while the RFQ remains open.

2. Architectural design competition: Request for proposals

The two-stage design competition will be undertaken as follows.

Competition stage 1

  • this stage is expected to begin in the summer;
  • PSPC will invite the selected competitors to submit an outline of their design concepts; and
  • the jury will evaluate the outline design concepts and shortlist up to six competitors, who will then advance to stage two of the competition.

Competition stage 2

  • this stage is expected to begin in the fall;
  • PSPC will invite the shortlisted competitors to submit an advanced design concept;
  • the jury will examine and evaluate the submissions and recommend to PSPC the first, second, and third prize winners; and
  • PSPC will award prizes for the three best designs.
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