HERITAGE OTTAWA, By Leslie Maitland
Last year the National Capital Commission was forced to close 7 Clarence, an important heritage structure in the ByWard Market Heritage Conservation District, due to structural issues. It was ultimately determined that the building, home to Memories Café, could not be saved.
New plans for a replacement structure met with some resistance from the community and from Heritage Ottawa. The proposed glass-box building was considered too large, too intrusive, and incompatible with the surrounding heritage character of the ByWard Market.
The NCC listened and responded to concerns. Today, CEO Dr. Mark Kristmanson, along with NCC Chief Architect David Scarlett and architect Anthony Leaning of CSV Architects, unveiled new designs for a replacement structure that will be more in keeping with the ByWard Market's character.
The new plans reveal a design comprised of stone and glass that is more evocative of the original building, is smaller in footprint than the previously proposed design, and has more subdued lighting along with attractive landscaping.
Construction is expected to start in Fall 2015 with a view to completion in time for Canada's sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017. The NCC is tentatively hoping to offer this space to Ottawa's embassy community for exhibit purposes, in celebration of Canada's bilateral relations.
Kudos to the NCC for listening to everyone's concerns, and for its willingness to pursue a design that will do credit to the ByWard Market Heritage Conservation District, and to Ottawa as a National Capital, for years to come.
Read related coverage in the Ottawa Citizen: ByWard Market Neighbours Glad the New Design for 7 Clarence is Cast in Stone