2016 Award of Excellence – Conservation – Architecture

Rehabilitation of the Sir John A. Macdonald Building

The former Bank of Montreal Ottawa Head Office served as a local branch as well as the bank to the Government of Canada, prior to the establishment of the Bank of Canada. Its design was the result of a 1929 National competition won by Barott & Blackader Architects of Montreal. Built in 1930-32, the building received an RAIC Gold Medal in 1932, the profession’s highest honour at the time, reflecting the high quality of architectural expression, material craftsmanship and urbanistic response. After a $99M rehabilitation and expansion for a new use as the House of Commons Confederation Room, it now serves large celebrations, educational and ceremonial functions for Parliament, effectively acting as a state-of-the-art conference centre and Hall of State. The building’s prominent location, spatial organization, architectural presence, noble materials and quiet dignity made it ideally suited to its new use. Nevertheless, the demanding new technical requirements were challenging to accommodate, requiring a sound, integrated conservation and design approach. The full range of interior and exterior fine materials were given conservation treatments focusing on protecting their integrity and maintaining or reinstating material relationships, employing a minimum intervention approach, all in keeping with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

Designed by Barrot and Blackader for the Bank of Montreal and built during the Depression, this Beaux Arts building was taken over by the Government of Canada for use as a state of the art conference center and ceremonial event space. Awarded the RAIC Gold Metal in 1932 for the high quality of architectural expression and material craftsmanship, the project team was tasked with harmoniously integrating new technical, mechanical and security systems within heritage-designated interiors.


Awarded to:

Mark T. Brandt (B.Arch, B.Env.Des.S., OAA, MRAIC, CAHP, LEED AP, APT, ICOMOS)
Christopher Warden
John Cooke (BEng, P.Eng., RSW, FCSC, CAHP)