Fred and Elizabeth Fountain Garden Court
The National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada rests on a bluff above the Ottawa River in the nation’s capital. A chiseled glass-and- concrete cathedral to the arts, it was explicitly designed to be modernist and monastic.
The Fred and Elizabeth Fountain Garden Court is a place of contemplation and reflection amidst The National Gallery’s vast collection of art. The redesigned courtyard is an homage to the escarpment above the Ottawa river, the very landscape upon which the gallery rest.
Replacing the geometric forms of the old garden, Gauthier & Associates Landscape Architecture designed with the objective of properly contextualizing the garden within the gallery’s surrounding landscape. Through materials, colours and textures, the outside is brought into the gallery itself.
Our challenge was to echo this vast and varied landscape indoors. Local plants were identified and tropical (indoor) plants that could be used to recreate the look and feel a native landscape were catalogued.
Every plant was quarantined and inspected for any insects that might invade the extensive collection of The National Gallery. The weight of the boulders had to be carefully calculated as the garden rests on a slab that rest (frighteningly) over the art storage area.
The result is a meditative reprieve within Canada’s treasured edifice of the arts.