National Arts Centre Architectural Rejuvenation

Project Overview

A designated National Historic Site of Canada, the National Arts Centre (NAC) stages more than 1,300 performances a year, sharing with audiences the best in music, theater, and dance. The NAC’s dramatic transformation includes a new glass façade featuring the signature Kipnes Lantern, a 60-foot hexagonal tower of glass and steel that rises high above the building’s main entrance. Transparent, LED-lined glass panels illuminate images of upcoming performances at the NAC and promote others taking place on stages across the country. PCL integrated major building restoration efforts with ongoing performances and rehearsals.

Inside the NAC, PCL added 36,000 square feet of space, bringing the total area to almost 1.2 million. A new two-level atrium that wraps around one side of the complex offers a mix of public spaces, lobbies, and rentable rooms, including a major event space that has sweeping views of downtown Ottawa and Parliament Hill. The rejuvenation also improves accessibility and provides a west elevation expansion — the NAC’s renovated “Fourth Stage” performance space.

The design features such quintessentially Canadian materials as quarried limestone for the floor tiles, Douglas fir for the wood ceiling coffers, and perforated, bronzed aluminum for exterior fins and cladding.

The NAC rejuvenation features large quantities of manufactured glulam (glue-laminated lumber) triangular coffers throughout most of the public spaces. PCL, in collaboration with the design team and the specialist glulam contractor, prefabricated the individual roof panels; incorporated all mechanical, life safety, and electrical infrastructure; finished the wood ceiling panels; and finished the roof membrane. To minimize any disruption to the operational performance facility, the project team assembled and transported the multi-coffer panels to the site, where they were offloaded using a 350-ton mobile crane and immediately placed in their final positions.


National Arts Centre Corporation
Ottawa, ON
Ottawa – Buildings & Civil Construction
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Building Revitalization, Small/Special Projects and Tenant Improvements, Sports and Entertainment
Construction Management


Award of Excellence - Addition - Ottawa Heritage Awards, 2019 - City of Ottawa

Don Chutter Meritorious Achievement Award, 2019 - General Contractors Association of Ottawa (GCAO)

Design Excellence Award Finalist, 2018 - Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)

Civic Trust Award, 2019 - Civic Trust Awards

Award of Excellence - Urban Infill, Low Rise (Civic) - Ottawa Urban Design Award, 2017 - City of Ottawa

2020 Architecture Merit Award - United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)

Gold Award Winner- Reconstruction Award, 2018 - Building Design + Construction