Phase 1 of the Visitor Welcome Centre (VWC) is the first new major addition on Parliament Hill in over 75 years and part of a 20-year, multi-billion-dollar rehabilitation of Canada’s most significant heritage site. A sensitive infill project, the VWC serves as the first point of entry for all visitors to the Parliamentary Precinct, home of the Government of Canada and a National Historic Site. Both a building project and a landscape intervention, the VWC provides a literal and metaphorical bridge between building and landscape, as well as contemporary and heritage architecture.
Welcoming some 350,000 visitors to Parliament Hill, the entrance to the VWC is cut directly into the elevated landscape and opens up into a generous and welcoming “light filled” subterranean space; visitors descend through a choreographed procession of compressed and expansive spaces leading to a bright and spacious reception. A sense of grandeur is evoked through a modern interpretation of vaulted ceiling forms, ornamental details and filigree in keeping with the Gothic Revival attention to craft. Enriched with a new layer of contemporary form, the design seamlessly knits the heritage fabric into the present, thoughtfully balancing the existing language of Beaux Arts planning and Victorian architecture. Interior finishes and detailing are also inspired by the heritage context, expressing an elegant material palette of limestone, marble, white oak and bronze.
To see more amazing entries from this year’s WAN Awards please click here.