The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat project was constructed on Sussex Drive in downtown Ottawa, along the ceremonial Confederation Boulevard, which features historic landmarks, residences, and government and embassy buildings. The structure was built to be a headquarters of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a nonprofit, nondenominational agency that supports social development projects worldwide.
This unique contemporary structure consists of three levels with a gross floor area of more than 102,000 square feet. There is a parking garage in the basement, office space and gathering areas on the main floor, and residences on the second floor. The exterior is built of a combination of glass curtain wall and a high-end material called Neopariés — an opaque, translucent material that brings a reflective quality to the building and highlights the clean lines of the exterior. This distinctive building material is made by a specialized technique of crystallizing glass. The building’s interior is highly finished with wood paneling, millwork, stone finishes, glazing, ornamental metals, and the old-world traditional finish of Venetian plaster. The atrium, a focal point of the building, features inlaid patterned wood flooring, hanging cast aluminum screens and, floating overhead, a suspended glass-fiber sunscreen. The facets of the atrium glass were inspired by naturally forming rock crystals.
This project had exacting design and installation requirements beyond the norm. The building lines were paramount in attaining the architect’s and client’s vision, involving a predetermined geometric grid that transferred throughout all building spaces and components. The stone floors lined up with interior millwork that carried through the window mullions, the exterior granite, and right down to the handrail balustrades. Design parameters dictating that none of the stone floor tiles could be cut applied to all stone and tile work throughout the interior and exterior podium and courtyard. Meticulous attention to detail and ongoing communication between the architect, trades, and client were all essential components of the extraordinary quality achieved on this distinctive project.