A curious and undoubtedly unique situation, indeed! Heritage Ottawa appreciates this innovative approach to enhancing the heritage qualities of a building, and respecting the Heritage Conservation District.
Our only concern relates to the rear addition. It follows the dictum that it must be sufficiently different from the original so that it cannot be mistaken for part of the original. It is, however, larger than the guidelines call for, and a bit blocky in design; perhaps it could take more design cues from the original while still being clearly modern. Therefore, Heritage Ottawa supports the opportunities for mitigation in the Cultural Heritage Impact Statement:
- The alteration of the rear addition generally follows the pattern of the District development by setting the addition back from the street more than the existing dwelling, by changing the cladding material, etc., as discussed above. A further way it could follow this pattern would be to slightly reduce the height of this rear addition relative to the “brick block’s” height. One example of this for consideration would be capping the parapet of the addition slightly lower than the main block. If required building code height for roof deck guard is an issue, this can be accommodated with an additional horizontal rail (or similar) above the parapet cap.
- Design development could also explore opportunities for cladding the rear addition in ways that reduces its perception of size. The less “noble”, more “temporary” material proposed (wood siding) for the rear addition is in harmony with District character and is appropriate. Ways and means to adjust perceptions of scale and grain with the detailing of that material’s application could be explored. The use of brick for the addition could also be explored since the addition addresses two public faces, though it too should have detailing that addresses scale. However, brick cladding of the rear addition would have to differentiate itself from the existing brick to accentuate the sense of addition. Other less “noble”, more “temporary” materials that express the addition’s time and place could also be explored, especially if scale issues are addressed with this as well.
The Cultural Heritage Impact Statement for this proposal is extremely thorough and thoughtful and the author deserves our thanks.
Leslie Maitland, M. Mus., CAHP