World-renowned architectural team to design joint facility for Ottawa Public Library, Library and Archives Canada

Following successful negotiations, the team of Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects will design the new joint facility shared by Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada. The design development work for this major civic building is expected to begin in early 2019.

Diamond Schmitt Architects is an internationally recognized Canadian architecture firm established in 1975, with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York. KWC Architects is an Ottawa-based firm established in 1978 that has collaborated with Diamond Schmitt Architects on 12 projects in the last 20 years. Both firms have won multiple awards, including Governor General’s Medals in Architecture, OAA Awards of Excellence, American Library Association, and Ontario Library Association Awards of Excellence. The joint venture team has a proven track record in architectural design excellence and specialized experience with libraries and other cultural institutions.

Diamond Schmitt Architects is committed to sustainable building practices, with 34 LEED certifications, including three projects achieving LEED Platinum certification. The firm has received national and international recognition for innovative design excellence in a broad range of buildings, including:

  • The National Arts Centre rejuvenation, Ottawa, Ontario (2017)
  • North York Central Library renovation, Toronto, Ontario (2018)
  • Maison Symphonique, Montréal, Québec (2012)
  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, British Columbia (2017)
  • Mariinsky II Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia (2013)
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel (2005)

KWC Architects and Diamond Schmitt have also been recognized for their collaboration on a range of award-winning projects, including:

  • The Senate of Canada Building (formerly Union Station), Ottawa, Ontario (2019)
  • Vanier Hall, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario (2012)
  • Ingenium (Canada Science and Technology Museum), Ottawa, Ontario (2019)

The design team will work with partners and the public to deliver iconic architecture with flexible spaces for innovative programming and events, designed to encourage culture, knowledge and inspiration. Public engagement and consultations will be integrated into the design development work. Public input will be an essential part of the process, to ensure that the facility will meet the unique needs and aspirations of residents, users and visitors.

Public art will also be an integral part of the design and construction of the new facility in keeping with the Public Art Policy, whereby one per cent of the construction costs is allocated for public art. The public art for this exciting new project will beautify, enliven and activate various spaces within the facility. Public Art for the facility will include visually iconic, permanent artworks as well as works from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists in an effort to recognize, support and value Indigenous art and cultures. The City of Ottawa is currently inviting professional artists to submit their qualifications for the opportunity of Artist on Design Team to create site-specific artwork integrated into the facility.

The new facility will become a destination for generations of Ottawans and Canadians to gather, learn, read, research, play and connect. It will also serve as a community anchor and driver of economic and social development in the western portion of downtown.


“It’s very exciting that the talented team of Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects will design another iconic addition to the Ottawa landscape. We are confident that the competitive selection process has found the ideal team to realize Ottawa’s vision for a new central library. Thank you to the evaluation committee for their conscientious work and their commitment to finding the right firm for this much-anticipated new Ottawa landmark.”

Mayor Jim Watson

“This important collaboration between the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa to create the new Ottawa Public Library will be the first of its kind. Thanks to this unique partnership, Library and Archives Canada will be better able to preserve our country’s documented heritage, and allow greater access to the treasures in its collection.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“Ottawa has developed into a vibrant and thriving city. I am excited and confident that this accomplished architectural team will ensure that the OPL-LAC joint facility reflects the distinct character of the Ottawa we know today, and the Ottawa of the future. It will be a place where everyone in our community can enjoy great architecture, great views and great reads.”

Councillor Tim Tierney, Member, Ottawa Public Library Board