Diamond Schmitt Architects has won a Civic Trust Award for the National Arts Centre (NAC) rejuvenation project in Ottawa. Now in its 60th year, the international event is the longest-running built environment awards program in Europe.
The project transforms the performing arts centre while honouring the elegance of its concrete brutalism. A new interior public gathering space creates transparency and connection with the city. The original geometry is extended on the footprint of former terraces with a palette of Canadian Douglas fir, Owen Sound ledgerock, bronze and bespoke glass curtainwall to expose and celebrate the creative activity inside.
The jury said the award acknowledges projects that offer a positive social, cultural, environmental, or economic benefit to their local communities.
“We are honoured to be recognized once again by the Civic Trust,” said Donald Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects. “The intent of the NAC rejuvenation is to enliven the streetscape, engage the surroundings, and enhance the centre’s visibility and identity while preserving its architectural heritage.”
The renewal enhances acoustics, sightlines, and accessibility in the main hall and animates the street presence of the Fourth Stage, an incubator for theatre and music. New interior spaces frame the views to Parliament Hill, nearby monuments, and the greenery of the Rideau Canal parkland.