Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct: a Jewel in the Night

Ottawa's Parliamentary Precinct

{loadposition slideShow14} Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct, which includes, the Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the commercial Sparks Street, and the Confederation Boulevard, will be brought to light by an exterior lighting master plan created by Lemay and Lightemotion. Over 20 years, the will enrich and enhance the experience of nighttime pedestrians.

Drawing its inspiration from the image of a diamond, the “Jewel in the Night” concept combines frontal and detail lighting to give the impression that the illuminations are outlined against a black sky. In certain locations, the play of shadow and light will bring out the dramatic and mysterious aspects of the Gothic Revival buildings on Parliament Hill, thus emphasizing the contrasts and the tensions in the landscape in the chiaroscuro style. Distributed according to four hierarchical levels of light, the illumination will reveal and reinforce the comparative prominence of the various buildings in the Parliamentary Precinct.

The main objective of this lighting master plan is to tell a story and offer night time pedestrians a stimulating view that contrasts from the one offered by day. Thus, certain areas have subdued lighting to set off the bright jewels of Parliament Hill. Other areas seek to show respect for the natural or heritage aspects of the site. Imagine a walk through the illuminated precinct, where the visitor’s experience is presented as a narrative set to the beat of the site’s spirit. At the end of the walk, the climax of the show will be revealed on the Peace Tower and the Parliamentary Library, with a luminous, dynamic display that rolls through various scenes to suggest the beating of the nation’s heart.

The vision

The vision developed for the lighting plan aims to enrich and enhance the nighttime experience of the symbolic, environmental and heritage primacy of the site. Fourteen guiding principles, developed by the landscape architects, in collaboration with Lightemotion, support this vision: respect, symbolic primacy, security and accessibility, preserving the heritage, adaptability, creativity and innovation, operations, stewardship, partnerships, hierarchy, viewing points, the visitor experience, sustainable development and balance. 

The artistic and technological revolution in lighting

With the evolution of the lighting industry, the Parliamentary Precinct will benefit from an artistic vision to create a unique nighttime experience, and tell a story. Moreover, LED technology offers the opportunity to produce unique, high quality backdrops at low cost, controlled by computers via a DMX system. As a result, illumination will be balanced throughout the implementation of the numerous projects, so that the hierarchy within the Precinct remains obvious at all times.

About Lemay

Founded in 1957 as an architectural firm, Lemay is one of Canada’s leading integrated environmental design firms, combining architecture, urban design, interior design, landscape architecture, structural engineering and branding into a multidisciplinary and synergetic offer. Now well established in Canada, United States, China, Algeria, Costa Rica, in the Caribbean and the Middle East, Lemay brings together nearly 350 professionals who offer their creativity to support their clients’ business strategies.

Recognized by Deloitte as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies, Lemay has been the driving force behind several landmark projects that have garnered attention here and abroad, most notably the New City of El-Menia in Algeria, the STM Stinson transport centre, the Place d’Armes, the Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, the Astral Head Office and the Centre Bell (in consortium).

 

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