Heritage Stair Balustrade Modifications
Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Robertson Martin Architects was tasked with providing a solution for a health and safety issue perceived to exist with the Ceremonial Stairs located in the Library and Archives Building. This heritage designated modern building was built in the 1960's and pre-dates any application of current Building Code provisions. Many details that are part of the stairs would not comply if it were to be built today. Given the facility's importance and function in the City of Ottawa with its dual role housing collections for the Library and Archives Building along with the high public traffic it sustains, the performance of building systems and elements is of the highest priority.

'This Ceremonial Staircase is high in architectural value because of its quality of material, large proportions, the openness of the balustrade and the detailing of the components. The material used includes the following; white Carrara marble, Ash Burton marble, Omega Blue marble, brass and bronze which work together to create a design that reflects clean, sharp lines with smooth surfaces.

The design emphasizes the grand proportions of the staircase and the weightlessness of the balustrade.' (from HCP Report Project Number: 434351)

It was felt that the infill design of secondary balusters in patinated bronze design followed Conservation Charter principles of minimum intervention, reversibility and compatibility. The new components provide a secondary layer to the balustrade, one that respects the architectural intent and materiality of the original. All new components are mechanically fastened to prevent damage to original materials and allow complete reversibility. The additional balusters remain inside the line of the existing and do not obscure the view through the balustrade or distract from its character and rhythm.

2006 Certificate of Merit, Adaptive Use - City Of Ottawa Heritage Award
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