The importance of this project to the University of Ottawa cannot be understated. The new Alex Trebek Alumni Hall is a symbol of the University of Ottawa alumni community’s commitment towards their alma mater, and a recognition by the University of its proudest ambassadors.
The work if this project centered on the complete restoration and rejuvenation of two original houses at the center of the university campus. Both buildings required complete structural upgrades to meet current building code seismic requirements. Several key structural wood frame elements were also in bad shape and, in many areas, required rebuilding. New foundations were constructed as well, including the underpinning of existing stone footings. A portion of the development included the creation of a multi-floor open space area. New columns from the basement to the roof were installed and all intermediate floors were removed and new roof trusses installed.
Although the reconstruction was extensive and new finishes were provided throughout, balancing this with the heritage character of both buildings was a key priority to the University. The installation of new mechanical, electrical, sprinkler systems was conducted to ensure the existing plaster & lathe could remain in place and the new systems installed with minimal damage. The buildings’ exteriors were also restored and a large front porch reinstated using licenced heritage restoration contractors. The interiors were made more functional for contemporary use and to comply with current accessibility requirements.
The City of Ottawa presented the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall with an Award of Merit at the 2014-2016 Ottawa Architectural Conservation Awards. Nominated in the category of Adaptive Reuse (adapting an old building for a new purpose while retaining its heritage character), the award recognized excellence in the preservation of the city’s architectural heritage.