When a glass addition to the Château Laurier was proposed last year, the reaction felt like a rejection of modernism. While the city’s process was far from perfect, it’s worth noting the beauty of bold lines.

When we consider the changing nature of Ottawa architecture, the Daly Building serves as a milestone. When it opened in 1905 at Rideau and Mackenzie, many scoffed at its rejection of the picturesque and Victorian styles. Influenced by the Chicago School of Architecture, the store exemplified the tension between traditional and new.More recent examples include the PSAC building (1969) and the Arthur Erickson addition to the Bank of Canada building (1979). Although now hailed as landmarks, each garnered controversy and was certainly not embraced by all.

Here, we explore three examples of modern architecture — the Library and Archives Preservation Centre in Gatineau, the National Holocaust Monument, and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat — that serve as examples of good craftsmanship, cohesive design, and functional resolve, and show the power and potential of modern architecture. All have made a notable mark on the city’s built fabric, revealing a modern city with excellent architecture spilling far beyond Parliament Hill.

 

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