Architectural design competition for Block 2

Learn about the architectural design competition to renew the city block across from Parliament Hill.

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Location of Block 2

Block 2 is the city block immediately south of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa. It faces the Centre Block and its Peace Tower to the north. It is the threshold between the city-owned and Crown-owned lands. The block is bounded by Metcalfe, Wellington, O'Connor and Sparks streets.

Enlarged image of a photo showing the location of Block 2 across the street from Parliament Hill. The city block is highlighted.

A view from the Centre Block's iconic Peace Tower showing Block 2. (Click the image to view enlarged version.)

The design competition

Our goal is to transform this mix of aging buildings and 2 vacant parcels of land into an innovative complex that will meet the needs of Parliament and the public.

The redesigned block will provide office space for the Senate and the House of Commons and will allow for the future consolidation of parliamentary accommodations, including space for the Library of Parliament. It will also include renovated retail space on the Sparks Street Mall.

Through an architectural design competition, we invited 12 prequalified architectural firms to submit design proposals for the area that will complement the image of Canada and its capital on the world stage. An independent and professional jury will recommend the winning design and team to the department, who will award prizes to the top designs.

Two of the eleven buildings in Block 2 have been dedicated for the development of an Indigenous Peoples’ Space. While these buildings currently stand independently from the design competition, the department will ensure the design and construction for the entire block honours and respects the significance of the space, which sits at the heart of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct.

Video: Government of Canada will soon launch design competition for city block facing Parliament Hill

View the video: Government of Canada will soon launch design competition for city block facing Parliament Hill

A virtual presentation of Block 2 and the members of the independent jury who will evaluate the proposals and recommend the winners of the architectural design competition for the city block facing Parliament Hill. (Click to watch the video.)

Why a design competition

Architectural design competitions support variety and are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building design and architecture. They are often used to generate innovative new ideas. Canada's original Parliament buildings were the result of a design competition in 1859. Competitions have produced many culturally significant buildings in Canada and around the globe, such as:

The jury

Read about the jury for the architectural design competition for Block 2.

How the competition will work

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has endorsed this design competition and has designated professional advisors to oversee the overall competition process. RAIC's role includes:

The competition will be done in 2 phases. Follow the architectural design competition for Block 2 to get up-to-date information about participants at each step of the process.

Phase 1: Request for Qualification

Phase 1 was open to all interested parties and closed on March 2, 2021. In this phase, firms had to demonstrate they were qualified to do the work. They were assessed based on the evaluation criteria included in the Request for Qualification.

The 12 firms with the highest evaluated score will be invited to participate in phase 2, the design competition.

Phase 2: Architectural design competition: Request for Proposals

Phase 2 will take place in 2 stages.

Competition stage 1

  • This stage began in May 2021
  • The 12 competitors with the highest evaluated score from phase 1 were invited to participate in the design competition
  • Each participant will submit an outline of their design concept
  • The jury will evaluate the design concepts and shortlist up to 6 competitors, who will then advance to stage 2 of the competition

Competition stage 2

  • This stage is expected to begin in fall 2021
  • We will invite the shortlisted competitors to submit an advanced design concept (a detailed design plan for the concept they submitted in the first stage)
  • The jury will evaluate the submissions and recommend the first, second and third place teams
  • We will award prizes for the 3 best designs

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