Once a county courthouse, the building at 2 Daly Avenue has now housed the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) for over a quarter century. While the centrally located building gives the public gallery a prominent home, the ageing structure is also an outdated, inaccessible, and spatially limited facility. For the non-profit gallery, the problem was obvious. Fixing it wasn't.
Providing a financially viable solution to the OAG's shortage of space and lack of affordability, DevMcGill's Arthaus Residences at Arts Court integrates the new gallery facility with a hotel and condominium tower, as well a student theatre space. In combining the new facility with hotel and condominium uses, the project's mixed-use configuration offered an affordable pathway to expand and modernize the non-profit gallery, allowing much of the project to be financed by the hotel and condominium components.
"It's never been done in Canada, to have an art gallery, a hotel, and then residential above it," DevMcGill CEO Stéphane Côte explains in the video below. For the gallery, the addition will almost double available exhibit space, while providing a custom 43,000 ft² home for the marquee Firestone Collection of Canadian Art. Currently housed in a 10,000 ft² space, much of the collection—including an impressive repertoire of A.Y. Jackson paintings—is out of public view, with some works sequestered in former vaults.
On Waller Street, the new gallery location will be fronted by a public space. Meanwhile, the 23-storey tower will faeture a le Germain Hotel, which will occupy the first 15 levels, while condominium suites will top the building's upper 9 floors.
Adding another cultural element to the project, a 1,600 ft² black box theatre space will provide a student facility for the nearby University of Ottawa. Together with the hotel, condo, and gallery, the theatre space contributes to a diverse mix of programming—and users—making the Arthaus development a potential urban hub for the surrounding area.
Designed by Régis Côté et Associés along with Barry Padolsky Associates Inc., and KPMB Architects, the project is now well into construction, with last month's update showing the building's skeleton rising above grade. The mixed-use development targets a late 2017 completion.
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