National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Fred Lebensold of the architectural firm of Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold and Sise,
Date Built
Opened June 2, 1969
53 Elgin Street
The website describes Canada's National Arts Centre, in Ottawa, as, "... a complex structure of irregular plan whose design is based on the triangle and hexagon, from the overall composition down to decorative details." 

Today the building is listed as a national historic site because:

" --- it is an outstanding example of a performing arts centre in Canada for its overall design, its highly successful integration into its urban setting, its succession of interior spaces to create dramatic effect, its unique combination of performing spaces and the progressive designs of each one, and its integration of contemporary works of art as part of its design;

- it is an outstanding example of a building illustrating the positive consequences of Canadian federal policy on the performing arts during the second half of the 20th century, considered, in the words of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, as a "national institution";

--- it is an example of state-of-the-art performing spaces and technology at the time of construction, in particular for the aesthetic and technical design of Southam Hall, which is an exceptional example of a medium-sized multi-purpose auditorium representing an inspired collaboration between architect and acoustician."

The building sits in an attractive location beside the Rideau Canal in the heart of Ottawa.

It describes itself as, " ... the only multidisciplinary, bilingual performing arts centre in North America, and one of the largest in the world."  It houses four performance spaces:  The Southam Hall that has four levels of seating that can accommodate an audience of 2,323; the Theatre Hall which has 897 seats; the NAC Studio with a capacity of 250 to 300 seats; and the NAC Fourth Stage with a capacity of 150.

In many ways the building is similar to the UK's National Theatre complex in its design.  The "Canada's Historic Places" website's description says that it was, "Designed in the Brutalist style, the National Arts Centre is constructed of poured reinforced concrete and covered with precast panels of exposed Laurentian-granite aggregate concrete with a variety of textures. The visually dominant components of its irregular design are the three main performing spaces that rise above a series of terraces."

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