Wellington Street in context (Doublespace)

NORR/MTBA Win Coveted 2017 Canadian Green Building Award


The Sir John A. Macdonald Building Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse project received the 2017 Canadian Green Building Award in the Existing Building Upgrade Category, at the CaGBC National Convention awards at the Vancouver Convention Centre last night.

The Sir John A. Macdonald Building Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse project was one of many quality submissions, but was selected by a jury of distinguished professionals who adjudicated the awards based on criteria of sustainable design, architectural excellence and technical innovation.

The jury said, “Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this project is how the envelope and building systems upgrades have been so discreetly integrated into the heritage structure …… a very sensitive, subtle and sustainable retrofit.”

Mark Thompson Brandt, Senior Conservation Architect & Urbanist at MTBA was on hand to receive the award. “We are so honoured to be acknowledged in this way for our work on this project that took almost 8 years of tremendous effort by a very large team of dedicated professionals to bring to fruition,” Brandt said. “This is the 5th National Award of Excellence received for this project, which makes it all the more rewarding for NORR, MTBA and the 30+ specialists and other disciplines on the team,” said Brandt. “Our focus on both high-value heritage preservation and environmental sustainability is beginning to be recognized as a critical direction going forward for Canada and indeed around the world.” he said. The project has also received two City of Ottawa awards for heritage conservation and urban design.

The SJAMB project is by NORR Architects & Engineers, in association with MTBA Associates Inc., Architecture Urbanism Conservation.

The Project

a $99M rehabilitation, addition and adaptive reuse of the a former Bank of Montreal Head Office to a state-of-the-art conference centre and Hall of State for House of Commons. Sustainability strategies included working with existing systems and materials to upgrade and hybridize with new, in order to achieve energy savings and a high level of resilience. Earning 5 Globes under the Green Globes rating system (the highest category reserved for Nationally-leading buildings), the project fully recycles the existing building, upgrading all utility systems. It leverages the highly-refined design and durable materials:  Queenston limestone, Stanstead granite, oak doors, and bronze fixtures. Large bronze-framed coloured glass windows were sustainably rehabilitated, maximizing natural light within the building, highlighting the interior’s durable palette of fine woods, stones and ornamental plaster. To balance the demanding new use program with the high degree of material and heritage integrity to be protected, the design and conservation approach were integrated into a seamless accord.  Generally, the heritage and environmental conservation direction is “minimum intervention”, while augmenting existing systems (instead of demolishing and manufacturing new), discretely integrating new architectural and mechanical elements to accommodate heavy new requirements in primary heritage spaces.

Left:  Overall View of the Main Hall (Doublespace); Right:  Detail section highlighting the updated Main Hall HVAC concept versus the original

The Awards

2017 Canadian Green Building Award – Existing Building Upgrade Award Category; 2016 CAHP National Award of Excellence – Conservation Architecture; 2016 City of Ottawa – Adaptive Reuse  Award of Excellence; 2015 RPIC Federal Heritage Buildings Award of Excellence in Heritage Conservation; 2015 National Trust for Canada Cornerstone Award of Excellence Adaptive Use/Rehabilitation; 2015 City of Ottawa –  Urban Design Award  of Excellence; 2014 CAHP National Award of Excellence; Adaptive Reuse (Hall of State for House of Commons FHBRO Submissions).