Heritage Ottawa has slammed the latest designs for a new seven-storey addition at the rear of the Château Laurier hotel in downtown Ottawa. The preservation group is “gravely concerned the City of Ottawa may be on track to approve what would be the most disgraceful act of heritage vandalism of our generation.”
According to a statement released by Heritage Ottawa, “The revised design fails to resolve—or even address—the underlying flaw that impaired all of the previous attempts. The angular, blocky massing and style of the proposed addition remains intrinsically incompatible with the romantic sensibility of the historic Château.”
In preparing this latest design—the fourth to be submitted—the applicant had considered public feedback along with input from City planning and heritage staff. The new design has reduced the proposed height by one storey; it also makes greater use of stone and bronze to better reflect the materials used on the historic hotel.
The Ontario Heritage Act does not prescribe design, and additions to the hotel are not required to replicate the style of the historic building.
However, Heritage Ottawa feels, “the proposed addition is neither physically nor visually compatible with, nor subordinate to, the historic place on which it seeks to impose itself.”
“By failing to address the Château’s picturesque character in any way, shape or form, all of the design options presented to date detract from the Château and its historic setting—and in doing so, undermine the integrity and value of the cultural landscapes that surround it,” added the statement.
The applicant still needs several planning approvals before the project can proceed. The public can provide feedback on the revised design by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Château Laurier is protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and all additions must be approved by city council.