The Consulate General of Canada commissioned Gabellini Sheppard Associates to reactivate this public amenity, in order to promote Canadian culture and trade, host events and exhibitions, and create a welcoming environment for daily use. The design creates a flexible, highly technical performance space, like an urban theater open to the street, layered with proscenium, seating, and display areas. The slatted ceiling and walls allow for the transformation of reconfigurable theatrical lighting and scenographic materials, while the existing stair platform is reconceived and reconfigured to create more gracious proportions and make it suitable as an event stage.
The materials palette – consisting of wood, water, and light – creates a metaphoric exchange between the Canadian consulate’s public interior and the expansive natural world of the country’s northern forests. At the same time, the oval slats, finished in Douglas fir on one side and aluminum on the other, fuse the idea of the environment with Canada’s modern economy and technical innovations, creating a harmony of nature and technology.