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James Flaherty Building – DIALOG + David McRobie

The first major new construction on a core block within Canada’s National Capital Region, 90 Elgin – renamed the James Flaherty Building – recently opened its doors this past falls.

We were commissioned by the joint venture partners DIALOG and David S. McRobie & Associates to document this 700,000 Sqft building. The project forms part of confederation boulevard, the ceremonial route for processions and state visits. The building complements the massing and materiality of other confederation boulevard landmarks, including the Chateau Laurier, the Lord Elgin and the British High Commission. The street-level facades are designed to create inviting pedestrian environments and will contain mixed retail. The building also incorporates a wide range of sustainable design features earning its LEED Gold certification.

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From the architects:

OTTAWA’S LATEST ARCHITECTURAL ADDITION SHARES AT LEAST A FEW CHARACTERISTICS WITH THE LATE CANADIAN MINISTER OF FINANCE, JIM FLAHERTY.

PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES CANADA RECENTLY OPENED AND DEDICATED 90 ELGIN STREET, A LANDMARK 17-STOREY OFFICE BUILDING IN OTTAWA. THE LEED® GOLD JAMES MICHAEL FLAHERTY BUILDING WAS PROMPTLY DEDICATED TO CANADA’S FORMER MINISTER OF FINANCE BY PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER. COMPLETED ON TIME AND BUDGET, IT IS ONE OF THE FIRST P3 PROJECTS TO BE COMPLETED IN OTTAWA FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

THE 700,000 SQFT (65,000 SQM) FACILITY, WHICH EMBODIES THE LATEST DESIGN APPROACHES AND BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, IS THE FIRST MAJOR NEW CONSTRUCTION IN MANY YEARS ON A CORE BLOCK WITHIN CANADA’S NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION. THE PROJECT FORMS PART OF CONFEDERATION BOULEVARD, THE CEREMONIAL ROUTE FOR PROCESSIONS AND STATE VISITS. WHEN FULLY OCCUPIED, IT WILL ACCOMMODATE APPROXIMATELY 2,500 EMPLOYEES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE CANADA AND THE TREASURY BOARD OF CANADA SECRETARIAT. LOCATED NEAR PARLIAMENT HILL AND THE NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL, THE JAMES MICHAEL FLAHERTY BUILDING COMPLEMENTS THE MASSING AND MATERIALITY OF OTHER CONFEDERATION BOULEVARD LANDMARKS, INCLUDING THE CHATEAU LAURIER HOTEL, UNION STATION, THE LORD ELGIN HOTEL AND THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION.

IN KEEPING WITH ITS CONTEXT, THE BUILDING FEATURES A DIGNIFIED PALETTE OF NATURAL STONE, AND GLASS, AND ITS 17-STOREY TOWER STEPS BACK FROM ELGIN STREET TO PRESENT AN EIGHT-STOREY PAVILION THAT MAINTAINS THE SCALE OF THE STREETSCAPE. ALONG SLATER AND ALBERT STREETS, FAÇADES BOTH ABUTTING ON AND RECESSED FROM THE STREET EDGE CREATE A LAYERED COMPOSITION OF CONTRASTING SOLIDS AND VOIDS. VIEWED ALONG THE AXIS OF THE MACKENZIE KING BRIDGE, FULL HEIGHT OF 90 ELGIN STREET ESTABLISHES A STRATEGIC PORTAL TO OTTAWA’S HIGH-RISE DOWNTOWN CORE. THE BUILDING HAS ACHIEVED PWGSC’S REQUISITE LEED® GOLD CERTIFICATION FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION, THROUGH STRATEGIES THAT INCLUDE:

  • A ‘T-PLAN’ CONFIGURATION THAT REDUCES THE IMPACT OF HEAT GAIN AND GLARE WITHIN THE OCCUPIED SPACES
  • A CAREFULLY CONSIDERED MIX OF TRANSPARENT AND OPAQUE MATERIALS, ACHIEVED THROUGH EXTENSIVE ENERGY MODELLING, THAT THAT PROVIDES OCCUPANTS WITH EXPOSURE TO LIGHT AND VIEWS, WHILE MEETING STRINGENT ENERGY PERFORMANCE CRITERIA
  • HIGHLY VISIBLE GREEN ROOFS ON THE SECOND AND NINTH FLOORS LIMIT HEAT GAIN AND CAN BE ENJOYED BY OCCUPANTS, AS WELL AS TWO GREEN WALLS – ONE OF THEM, AT SIX STOREYS, THE HIGHEST OF ITS KIND IN OTTAWA

MARTIN SPARROW, DIALOG’S PRINCIPAL-IN-CHARGE ON THE PROJECT, COMMENTED: “STRONG CLIENT LEADERSHIP FROM GWL REALTY ADVISORS INC., THE DEVELOPER OF THE PROJECT, AND POSITIVE JOINT VENTURE CHEMISTRY WITH DAVID S. MCROBIE ARCHITECTS LED TO CREATIVE SOLUTIONS, SUPERIOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT, AND THE SUCCESSFUL REALIZATION OF THIS PROJECT. THE PROJECT WAS COMPLETED ON TIME AND, FITTINGLY GIVEN ITS NAMESAKE, ON BUDGET.”

IN ADDITION TO GOVERNMENT OFFICE SPACE, THE JAMES MICHAEL FLAHERTY BUILDING CONTAINS RETAIL AT GRADE AND PROVIDES 290 UNDERGROUND PARKING SPACES. THIS SUBSTANTIAL DEVELOPMENT ENLIVENS AND COMPLEMENTS A REVITALIZED, CEREMONIALLY SIGNIFICANT ROUTE THROUGH THE HEART OF OTTAWA.

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