The iconic design of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility draws its inspiration from many sources: from the beauty of the natural world and its location overlooking the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills; from the rich history of the city and region; from Indigenous history, heritage and culture; and from the role of the building as a gathering space for all. Explore the design features.

Natural World

The architects have created a design that connects to our Nation’s Capital’s rich history and natural beauty: its shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River; its stone and wood exterior reflects the escarpment and the surrounding greenspace. The windows, top floors and rooftop offer unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills.

Read more about our project architects and design team’s commitment to bird-friendly design for the Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Joint Facility.


The site for the Joint Facility is located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. The land surrounding the Chaudière Falls is a sacred meeting place for the Algonquin Anishinabe and other First Nations, associated with a portage and trade route for Indigenous people along the Ottawa River.

The idea of a community public library and national library and archives on this site presents an opportunity to examine the nature of knowledge transfer and learning that will take place in the building, and how it relates to the local Algonquin Anishinabe People as well as Indigenous communities in Ottawa and across the country.

Indigenous design elements will be incorporated throughout the Joint Facility.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

The design of the facility offers the opportunity to create a building that is accessible, inclusive, welcoming and open to all of the members of our community. Universal accessibility is an important objective in the building design. Through the application of stringent universal design standards, the goal is to be the most accessible building in the National Capital Region.

Here are five main features that will make the building inclusive:

  • multiple entrances
  • glass elevators
  • all gender washrooms
  • sensory rooms
  • interior ramps


Maximizing the environmental sustainability of the building was a major focus during the design phase of the Joint Facility. The facility will achieve at minimum, a LEED Gold certification.