“The most disgraceful act of heritage vandalism of our generation” is how Heritage Ottawa describes the redesign of upgrades to the Château Laurier in a report they released Sunday.

“The revised design fails to resolve — or even address — the underlying flaw that impaired all of the previous attempts,” said the organization in their statement. “The angular, blocky massing and style of the proposed addition remains intrinsically incompatible with the romantic sensibility of the historic Château.”


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According to the city of Ottawa website, the new proposal was submitted on May 9 for a seven-storey, 164-room addition at the rear of the existing building. The proposal keeps the Château Laurier proper as it is, and replaces the remaining walls of the parking garage with an L-shaped addition, which the city says will abut limited areas on the hotel’s east and west wings.

The addition would also be connected to the existing hotel via a glass link running along the western edge of the hotel’s east wing. The development proposal also includes a landscaped courtyard between the hotel and the addition. The proposal also states that modifications to the original ground floor window openings will be done to provide access to the courtyard from the hotel ballroom and banquet room. A new stairway will also be built to “provide access to the courtyard from the public terrace on the west side of the Rideau Canal.”

Heritage Ottawa also said that there are some differences implemented by the designers that are a step in the right direction but there are still flaws that take away from the “story” that the hotel tells.

“Although the design has evolved several times since its introduction nearly 18 months ago, each evolution has found a different way to repeat the same mistake,” said Heritage Ottawa. “No amount of refinement of exterior design details can overcome this fundamental incompatibility.”

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