Ādisōke

“With the reveal of the design for this new world-class destination in our downtown, Ottawa is one step closer to achieving our vision to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America. I would like to thank everyone involved in this process for their input and for their commitment to helping us create a facility that is more than just a building – it will be a welcoming gathering space that will connect all of us together.”

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Ādisōke is a five-story information hub and cultural crossroad in Canada’s capital. Slated for completion in 2024, the unique building will be home to both Ottawa’s main public library branch as well as Canada’s national library and archive. Ādisōke is an Anishinābemowin word that refers to the telling of stories. Storytelling is the traditional means by which Indigenous peoples share knowledge, culture and history over generations. Ādisōke evokes what is at the heart of the partner institutions: Library and Archives Canada as a keeper of Canadian and Indigenous stories, and Ottawa Public Library’s use of stories to build community and transform lives by inspiring learning, sparking curiosity, and connecting people.

To shape their new joint facility in Ottawa, the two partners have invited residents and communities to take part in a public co-design process since 2013. As a result, the architecture stems from a robust and meaningful civic engagement with residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from coast to coast, leveraging their input to generate an iconic destination. We have designed a facility that is for the people and by the people, depicting the city’s history and natural beauty. The building’s shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River; its stone and wood exterior reflect the escarpment and surrounding greenspace, and the unparalleled views of the city are on display through windows and transparent walls.

The design thoughtfully connects the two institutions under one roof for the first time, linking their dedicated spaces with an expansive public forum which offers visitors a plethora of meeting spaces and technical resources for information sharing. The building includes a sky-lit Town Hall gathering space, a multi-purpose auditorium, Discovery Centre for children, spaces for Indigenous communities, Genealogy Centre, Creative Centre, Design Studio, Digital Production Centre, collaboration labs, maker spaces, reading rooms, meeting rooms, and cafés. Ādisōke also features an outdoor plaza, terraces, and a Civic Reception Room on the top floor. It contains Canadian and Indigenous cultural and historical stories, sharing them through public programs, events, resources, and exhibitions.

Targeting Net-Zero Carbon and LEED Gold certification, the building will employ climate-resilient strategies and offer access by light-rail and multi-use pathways for cyclists and pedestrians. Expected to receive over a million visitors annually, this new hub responds to rapidly developing technology, growing expectations, and changing demographics. Its innovative spaces and programming will be an essential part of Ottawa’s growth as a smart city, contributing to the social and economic well-being of the local and national communities.

Client The City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Library, Library and Archives Canada
Completion 2024
Sustainability Net Zero Carbon Target, LEED Gold Target


In joint venture with KWC Architects
Renderings Cicada Design


Team See full project team
Laila Abdalla
Nahid Ahmadi
Erin Broda
Sydney Browne
Steve Culver
Jeff Geldart
Emre Goktay
Elizabeth Gyde
Bennet Hu
Mahdie Irannejad
Liheng Li
Catherine Lin
Sarah Low
Gary McCluskie
Donald Schmitt
Philippa Swartz
Peggy Theodore
Jose Trinidad
Matthew Tsui
Coco Xiong
Joseph Yau
Haley Zhou