The inspiration for the Canadian War Museum design came from the people portrayed in the Museum’s photography collections: ordinary Canadians fighting in wasted foreign landscapes, accomplishing extraordinary and heroic deeds. The second source of inspiration was nature. Ravaged landscapes have the remarkable ability to endure the devastation wrought by humans. Not only does nature survive, it regenerates and hybridizes.
The concept of regeneration is manifested in a building that appears immersed by the surrounding landscape of the Ottawa River. Its low-lying forms hug the earth, while its gently sloping green roof, operates as a pedestrian walkway that offers a hint of the Museum’s multiple layers of meaning.
Inside, angled walls sharply emerge. Concrete is raw, joints are rough. Floors are sometimes sloped, creating a sense of disequilibrium. Many walls and spaces are intentionally austere, without distractions. Emptiness has profound strength. The intended effect is to encourage the thoughts, memories, and emotions of visitors.
Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation
Governor General’s Medal for Architecture
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Fellowships Award
International Lubetkin Prize, Finalist
OAA Design Excellence Award
Design Exchange Interior Design Award
LEAF Awards, Best Public Building
Globe Foundation of Canada, Award for Excellence in Urban Sustainability
Consulting Engineers of Ontario, Engineering Award of Excellence
International Illumination Design Award — Award of Merit
Ontario Concrete Awards, Architectural Merit
Ottawa Urban Design Awards, Award of Excellence — Public Places and Civic Spaces
“In addition to being scored as the most qualified firm for this commission, the firm’s philosophy of understanding the client’s needs from which to inspire the building’s design was one of the determining factors in selecting Moriyama & Teshima as the lead designer for this important project. The Canadian War Museum was a major undertaking combining the execution of a challenging architectural design to be delivered within restricted budgets and schedules and coordinated with multiple private and public sector stakeholders to name a few of the challenges—the whole taking place under intense public scrutiny. Moriyama & Teshima played a key role in the success of the project.”
— David Loye, Acting Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation
“When the Canadian War Museum opened, we never imagined just how popular it would become. We owe this remarkable success to this magnificent building and to the innovative, engaging experience visitors discover inside.”
— J. (Joe) Geurts, former Director and CEO, Canadian War Museum