City launches search for Central Library architects

By Sarah Kazak

The City of Ottawa will begin a two-phase procurement process to hire architects to design the new Ottawa Central Library on the eastern edge of LeBreton Flats.

The city is on the hunt for a design team that has completed a project of similar “size, scope and complexity” to the proposed 216,000 square-foot facility.

The Ottawa Public Library is currently working with Library and Archives Canada to explore a potential partnership at the new location.

City council approved the construction of the library on the municipally-owned land at 557 Wellington St. after three years of studies, reports and consultations.

Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney, the Centretown Citizens Community Association and the advocacy group Bookmark the Core had argued prior to the selection of the Wellington Street site that it was too far from where the bulk of the downtown population lives. .

Ottawa Public Library CEO Danielle McDonald told CBC News that consulting with the public on the library’s design will be a key factor in choosing the winning bid and she urged people who were dissatisfied with the location to contribute to the process.

“We want everybody to come to the space,” McDonald said. “This is the location that has been selected, (but) I think there’s still a lot of room in terms of how the site’s going to evolve.”

The library’s groundbreaking is to be held in mid-2018. .

“We expect the procurement process will draw architectural talent from across the region, the nation and around the globe,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said in the city’s official press release.