West Memorial Building Rehabilitation: The Staircase
Join us as we explore advanced and innovative design solutions in our Focus on Design series. Here we discuss unique elements of our recent projects.
The conservation and renovation of the West Memorial Building features a spectacular bronze-clad spiral staircase interconnecting the Grand Hall with the Supreme Court prominently located on the second floor, and the Supreme Court Library located below the Grand Hall on the ground floor. A circular glass elevator is also featured in the centre of the spiral staircase. The West Memorial Building will temporarily accommodate the Supreme Court and Federal Courts while the neighbouring permanent Supreme Court of Canada building undergoes rehabilitation and renovation as a separate project.
Inspired by I.M. Pei’s iconic addition to the Louvre and emulating the symbolic procession from the Grand Hall to the Supreme Court that defines the permanent Supreme Court building, the spiral staircase and circular glass elevator enshrines the Supreme Court as Canada’s preeminent courthouse placed strategically above Federal Courts located on the first floor and accessed directly from the Grand Hall. Ascending from the Grand Hall, the staircase gently curves 360 degrees landing at a bronze-clad portal that frames the Supreme Court entrance. Descending from the Grand Hall, the staircase again curves 360 degrees to land at the entry to the Supreme Court Library which is geared to meet the immediate information needs of the courts.
Constructed of structural curving glass and steel, and clad in bronze, the spiral staircase and glass elevator is also designed to support Grand Hall functions and events. The sweeping curve of the staircase offers panoramic perspectives of the Grand Hall overlooking events and functions that are regularly scheduled within this prestigious, historic space, which was originally an exterior lightwell.
More about West Memorial Building
Honouring World War II veterans, the West Memorial Building in Ottawa’s Judicial Precinct is an iconic, seven-storey Classified Federal Heritage Building that contributes to the distinct character of downtown Ottawa. We are currently working to modernize, rehabilitate, and revitalize the building to serve as the home of the Supreme Court, exemplifying the time-honoured prominence of the highest court in Canada and the country’s rich judicial history. The West Memorial Building will house the Supreme Court until 2028, at which time it will transition into a world-class workplace for federal employees.
Estimated to complete in 2024, this project signals Canada’s commitment to rehabilitating and adapting historic buildings for sustained use and energy performance.
Read our full story on the West Memorial Building >>> West Memorial Building: Public Services and Procurement Canada
By: Sally Mills
By: Sally Mills , Christine Craik
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