About the Building
Official Opening21 May 1988
Corner of Sussex Drive and St. Patrick Street, Ottawa
Exhibition space 12 400 m2
Public and other space 34 221 m2
Total 46 621 m2
Parkin/Safdie Architects Planners,
Toronto and Montreal
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
Oberlander worked with Moshe Safdie to create the National Gallery’s indoor and outdoor gardens. Her inspiration for the taiga garden on the southeast side, with its severe northern beauty and muted colours, came from A.Y. Jackson’s painting Terre Sauvage.
On the northeast side, a sunken garden of 12 flowering crab-apple trees is surrounded by the living rock into which the building is set. The public walkway next to the sunken garden leads to a path that zigzags up the hill toward Nepean Point.
The ECE Group Ltd.,
H. H. Angus and Associates Ltd.,
Robert Halsall and Associates Ltd. and Parkin Engineers Ltd.,
Granite. The interior and exterior of the building is variegated rose granite, flame-finished to give it texture. It comes from a hillside quarry 20 kilometres north of Tadoussac, Québec. The grey granite used in interiors of the building comes from Peribonka, Québec. The charcoal-grey stone in the Garden Court in the centre of the Canadian and European Art galleries, as well as the stone in the courtyard of the Contemporary Art galleries, comes from Zimbabwe; it is known as Impala.
Wood. The floors of the Contemporary Art Galleries are of Canadian maple, coated with a special acrylic from Sweden. The wide-plank maple flooring of the Rideau Street Convent Chapel, stained dark brown, comes from Michigan. The Canadian Galleries have floors and door frames of red oak from the southern United States. The flooring of the Special Exhibitions and European Galleries is white oak from the United States. The altars (originals) of the Chapel are of cherry; the new wainscotting of this Chapel is of oak; the cherry in the Library comes from North Carolina. The ceiling (original) of the Chapel is of bass-wood, and pine. The superstructure, from which hangs the ceiling of the Chapel, is of Douglas fir.
Concrete. All of the precast concrete work for the National Gallery of Canada was done in Montréal. The formwork for concrete poured on site came from British Columbia.
Steel. Steel in the new building comes from Hamilton. The glass and steel doors are from Minnesota.
Glass. Glass in the skylights, and throughout the building, comes from Ontario. All glass is double glazed and contains a layer of plastic to prevent transmission of sound.
Carpets and Blinds. Made in Canada.