Author: Paul French
Title: A Day in the Life of the National Arts Centre
Category: Community Revitalization
Description: A transformative architectural rejuvenation of the 50-year-old National Arts Centre in Canada's capital city Ottawa turns the Brutalist structure inside out so that it connects with the city around it. The new design pays tribute to the original by extending its rigorous geometry, by retaining all of the existing structure, and by enlarging public space on the footprint of former terraces. This highly transparent addition enhances the civic realm where activity and performance are now on view creating an urban 'living room' where the NAC previously turned its concrete back on the city. A transparent digital screen in a marquee tower frames the new entrance with original programming and performance from across the country. The cabaret-style Fourth stage now animates the adjacent street with views onto performance. The main auditorium’s acoustics and accessibility are dramatically improved. The design brings the artistic energy of creation to the forefront to engage the public at a dynamic crossroads in the heart of the city. The story idea came from that sunrise meditation class in the amphitheatre with those incomparable new views of Ottawa all around. This wordless portrayal documents how the rejuvenated space is activated and embraced by the community throughout the day.