The Globe and Mail: The Chateau Laurier’s new addition will be nice. The debate has been ugly

Architecture critic for The Globe and Mail, Alex Bozikovic, shares his thoughts on the Château Laurier addition. To view the article in PDF format, click here. To view the article on The Globe and Mail website, click here (subscription required):

Below is an excerpt from the article:

“The design that’s been approved was architectsAlliance’s fifth version of the hotel addition for owner Larco Investments Ltd. The addition has changed dramatically since it was first put forward: It’s become shorter; it’s changed from two wings, continuing the shape of the 1912 hotel, into a single low wing that closes the hotel into a rough square and presents a new face to the adjacent Major’s Hill Park. It is, as it’s been shown to the public, a polite and urbane piece of architecture that will be beautiful to see up close.

Ottawa is largely a 20th-century city; Most of its major buildings, for better as well as for worse, are products of the past three generations. If you actually look at the city, this is perfectly plain.

And Clewes’s new addition to this tapestry will be a worthy one: unflashy, well-made of quality materials, arranged on its site in a careful manner. It is not the expressive and ambitious kind of addition that would be encouraged in the Netherlands or Spain, places where architecture matters more and where nobody wants to pretend time has stopped. But, it will be good and Canadian. It won’t remake Ottawa, but it won’t ruin it, either.”