Canadian War Museum
Moriyama & Teshima / Griffiths Rankin Cook
- Award Type:
Regional Award 2006
- Location: Overseas
The one word that embodies the design concept of the New Canadian War Museum is ‘Regeneration’. This was inspired by stories of Canadian veterans, war poetry and images found in photographs and paintings in the Canadian War Museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. Regeneration embodies the sequences of devastation, survival, rebirth, adaptation and life. In war, nature - comprising the land and the human spirit nurtured thereon - is ravaged and seemingly destroyed. Miraculously and somehow inevitably, however, nature survives and regenerates as the power of life prevails. It is this process of regeneration and healing that nourishes and rekindles human hope, faith and courage. The overall expression of the building is horizontal, with a rooftop of wild grass. One can imagine peeling back this protective cover to reveal the interior spaces: A complex system of tilting planes that intersect with one another lending to a sense of disorientation from within. The landscape overlay is evidence of the healing power of time and nature: land fusing with ruin in a slow process of regeneration and hybridization.
This project is the result of a long struggle to provide Canada’s National Museum of Military History with a home worthy of telling this and future generations the fascinating story of Canada’s rich military history. The building itself is quite outstanding, and that is reflected in a number of comments heard directly from visitors. Upon entering the building, visitors are amazed to find such a large enclosed space as the lobby. Many remark that they really did not expect such vast and interesting space. Visitors are immediately struck by interior building features such as the angled walls and the extent of exposed, strong finished concrete. They are quite conscious how the building’s architecture speaks to the meaning and content of the Museum. This differs from the usual building design of a Museum dropped into the available space. We are exceedingly happy with our final product. Since our May 8 opening very close to 500,000 visitors have taken the opportunity to visit Canada’s newest National Museum. For us, this is a large number to which the building adapts very well. This is a building we are pleased, and proud to call our home.