June 16, 2014
by Canadian Architect
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, the Canadian Museum of History is honouring architect Douglas Cardinal – the designer of its iconic and celebrated buildings – by renaming one of its principal event and meeting rooms the Douglas J. Cardinal Salon.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Museum’s two adjoining buildings. Upon opening, they received immediate international acclaim for their innovative and elegant design, inspired in part by their dramatic waterfront setting across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill. Cardinal’s work on the project earned him a place among the world’s most renowned architects.
“Our Museum and all Canadians owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Cardinal for this architectural treasure, which has graced the nation’s capital for almost three decades,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “The Museum is proud to honour Mr. Cardinal and extends best wishes on his 80th birthday.”
The Museum consists of two pavilions. One houses the Museum’s artifact vaults and administrative and curatorial offices. The other is the public museum building most familiar to millions of visitors from across Canada and around the world. The public building is especially dramatic with its flowing lines, copper-clad roof domes and the towering window wall of its Grand Hall.
“The Museum will be symbolic in form,” Cardinal wrote in his original design statement. “It will speak of the emergence of this continent, its forms sculpted by the winds, the rivers, the glaciers.” His vision was fully realized on June 29, 1989, when the Museum first opened to the public.
Cardinal is working with the Museum once again. He is assisting with the development of the Museum’s new Canadian History Hall, which will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever created.
The Douglas J. Cardinal Salon is near the Grand Hall, the Museum’s architectural centrepiece. The highly visible Salon is used for public events and programs as well as private functions.
“The Museum building itself is an artifact of its time, and I am so pleased to be involved in developing the design criteria for the next steps in its evolution. It is a wonderful precedent in the architectural profession for the Museum to have recognized the importance of protecting the integrity of the design of the building. I designed this Museum to serve the people of Canada now and in the future,” said Douglas Cardinal. “Working on the design of the Canadian History Hall allows me to incorporate further ideas that were part of my original design. I feel especially honoured that the Museum has recognized my part in producing this national museum.”
Douglas Cardinal was born in Calgary and studied architecture at the University of British Columbia and the University of Texas. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, holds over a dozen honorary degrees from Canadian and American universities, and has been honoured by his peers in North America, Russia and Scotland. His firm, Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc., is based in Ottawa.