When the National Arts Centre was designed in the 1960s it was described as a 'fortress for the arts.' Attending a concert was a formal occasion; a departure from one's everyday activities. "Fred Lebensold, the original architect, envisioned the building as an outcropping of granite in the Canadian Shield." says Project Architect Jennifer Mallard. "And I think from that that’s where he came to the hexagonal grid, it’s like a piece of broken rock."
Today, performing arts venues strive to be more accessible and open to their audiences. "We’re more contemporary," explains Mallard of the new design, "we’re transparent and we’re lighter in structure. And we’re using wood instead of concrete for warmth."
Attending a concert or play is no longer an elite past-time but there is still appreciation for the past and tradition. "As we look to put an addition on this masterful piece of work we obviously have to respect what is there and the only way to add onto it for us was to work with the original geometry."
Follow the renovation progress from ground-breaking to today.