Proposed Chateau Laurier addition gets frosty reception from Heritage Ottawa

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Heritage Ottawa was not impressed, warning that approval of the design would constitute “the most disgraceful act of heritage vandalism of our generation.”

Heritage Ottawa hasn’t pulled any punches when it comes to voicing its feelings about the proposed addition to the city’s historic Chateau Laurier hotel.

Additions to the 106-year-old building were planned by architectsAlliance in collaboration with heritage consultants ERA Architects for developers Larco Investments. Heritage Ottawa is not impressed, according to Canadian Architect. The group is apparently “gravely concerned” that the city will approve what it terms the “most disgraceful act of heritage vandalism of our generation.”

The organization says the proposed angular style of the addition remains intrinsically incompatible with the romantic styling of the Chateau, adding the addition would neither complement nor enhance the building’s historic surroundings.

Even though the design has undergone significant changes in the last 18 months, it is still not in keeping with the overall feeling the Chateau evokes, Heritage Ottawa says. Each design repeats that same mistake.

“Additions cannot be allowed except in so far as they do not detract from the interesting parts of the building, its traditional setting, the balance of its composition and its relation with its surroundings,” says the Venice Charter, an international benchmark for the conservation and restoration of historic buildings.

Keeping in line with the Venice Charter, the proposed design would apparently violate the integrity of the Chateau and disregard its unique historical significance. The proposed addition, Heritage Ottawa says, will be the most important heritage application to be considered by this session of Ottawa city council and the organization is asking the mayor and city councillors to “use their authority under the Ontario Heritage Act to prevent this inappropriate design from proceeding.”

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