i+D - January/February 2020 - 31

Political Designs - By Brian Libby

Commencing construction in 2011 and recently re-opened, the West Block's
temporary chamber is a marvel. Light shines down through the new glass
ceiling between the buildings that converts outdoor to indoor space. The
transparent roof is held aloft by a group of steel columns that resemble
trees, thick and trunk-like at their bases before branching out diagonally
in several directions. "Originally, we looked at a number of schemes that
were an enclosed box in that courtyard," explains EVOQ founding partner
Rosanne Moss. "But eventually we arrived at the concept of an open
chamber under a glazed roof, so you could still read the existing building
and view the sky while sitting in the House of Commons. The idea was that
the members of the House would be able to feel that sense of history and
continuity, as they were sitting in the chamber." The design includes green
carpeting in the chamber that, in combination with the columns, evokes a
Canadian forest setting.
EVOQ also designed a new permanent visitor entry sequence carved into
the hill between the Centre and West Blocks, repurposing the north wing of
the West Block. "The conundrum was how to come up from below grade
and not be completely confused as to where you are," the architect explains.
But today, emerging from underground gives one a view into the new
temporary House of Commons, providing a sense of arrival.

A foyer in the repurposed
North Wing of the Parliament
Hill complex provides a sense
of power, history, and grandeur.
(Image: Tom Arban Photography)

The historic
architecture of
Parliament Hill
envelops the
temporary voting
chamber EVOQ
Architecture created
where a courtyard
previously stood.
(Image: Tom Arban
Photography)

If transforming the West Block courtyard into a new
temporary House of Commons with a glass roof and decorative
support columns seems like one basic move, it was actually
built from hundreds of other design decisions, each of which
had to be approved by many stakeholders there. "The House
of Commons has something like 30 user groups within its
organization," Moss says. "I think the challenge really is to have
a firm idea of what you are aiming for [and] what your design
is based on philosophically, and in our case, historically. When
a design direction is challenged by one of the stakeholders,
we need to find a way to accommodate changes but also keep
track of the vision that we have for the project and continue to
be able to bring it forward. You don't win every battle, but you
hopefully win the war."

i+D - January/February 2020

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i+D - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - January/February 2020

Contents
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover1
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover2
i+D - January/February 2020 - 3
i+D - January/February 2020 - 4
i+D - January/February 2020 - 5
i+D - January/February 2020 - Contents
i+D - January/February 2020 - 7
i+D - January/February 2020 - 8
i+D - January/February 2020 - 9
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i+D - January/February 2020 - 12
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i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover3
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20211112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506_french
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