In purely quantitative terms, you might find the sheer volume and diversity of construction projects on the site of the former Lansdowne Park to be impressive, albeit overwhelming and intimidating. However, thinking of design quality, you are unlikely to conclude that the proliferation and massing of the box-like buildings qualify as anything other than utilitarian and unimaginative.
These edifices make for a visual assault of verticality on any pedestrian walking at street level. They also collectively dwarf the heritage buildings that are reminders of the site’s special historical significance in the development of both the Glebe and Ottawa in the late 19th and early 20th century. Furthermore, neither the buildings nor the tenants signed thus far seem to meet the promise of uniqueness in the businesses, much less in the provision of “services, shops and opportunities for arts, culture, and environmental awareness.” A commercial mall? Yes; A cultural mecca? No.
So if you were looking for an inviting design, you will have to bypass the mall and offices to the north and walk south to the Rideau Canal to get a breath of fresh air. There you will see the Veil. Created by Cannon Designs, and under construction since October 2013, this welcome sight is shaping up to be a curvilinear curtain covering the south side of the stadium with some 1,800 wooden ribs supported by 24 wooden spines. Serving as a walkway and access to the stadium, it also creates a more appealing visual linkage with the berms and the urban park planned for the eastern sector. Here’s to a breath of fresh air.