24 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
12,000 SF
2009-


This proposal for a new Official Residence of the Prime Minister of Canada recycles the existing house's driveway, foundations and back lawn, then becomes simultaneously new and old with the addition of familiar geographies and fresh spaces. The dominant landscapes of ocean, lake, river, forest, mountain, rock (Shield), plain and prairie are either carved into or overlaid onto the existing property, with inhabited spaces and service requirements housed in the resultant voids where the new landscapes don't quite meet the ground. The new residence is located on one continuous level, exaggerating its horizontal expansiveness. Though expressively modest and park-like from the street, the house's interior spaces boldly jut out over the river, a glassy void supporting an artificial forested landscape weightlessly over an existing one.

The procession from the dense rock (Shield) to glassy interiors parallels the gradations of security and privacy requirements, from guardhouse to the Prime Minister's personal spaces. The water body in the front yard could be a lake or an ocean. The cut through the rock is a neo-classical axial gesture that might be a river aimed at the existing residence's current front door. The rock, if required in the future, a suitable blast resistant berm. Rising above and around the southern half of the property is a mountain and forest; Laurentian, Cascade, or Rocky. Subtracted valleys are service entrances, light filled courtyards and mechanical exhausts. Marking the place of the existing residence's front elevation is a floating stone lump, with a silhouette that is comfortably residential. As a nod to the infrastructure necessary for a sprawling country like Canada to function, this heavy stone mass is tunneled under, then held aloft to create the formal entry to the new residence. The wide entry foyer opens directly to a calm plinth of water articulating the foundation of the existing residence. A carefully mowed lawn waits beyond. The new house is politely off to the left, looking back at the entrance, the lawn, and to sweeping views across the river. The CEO of Canada finally has a corner (home) office.