Rendering of Tremblay station plaza.
Rendering of Tremblay station plaza.

Ottawa Confederation Line

Ottawa, Ontario
A New Vernacular for Canadian Public Transportation

When the City of Ottawa set out to build a new 12.5 km (7.7 mile) electric light rail line, they knew that nothing less than a world-class system would do for Canada’s national capital district.

Their mandate for high-quality public transit facilities, sensitive to this important urban district, drove our team’s approach to the project. We focused on ease of accessibility to and from the stations, and on improving the public realm at each stop. At the same time, we drew inspiration from Ottawa’s natural and man-made fabric when selecting materials and designing station forms and details. Through this process, a new, iconic language for public transit in the city was born, while fulfilling the original mandate for a high-quality experience.

Transformational in nature, the Confederation Line stations also embody the principles of holistic sustainability: from large-scale benefits like diverting ridership from single-occupancy vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to activating public spaces that promote social connection, to selecting materials that promote the health of the rider.

Rendering of Campus station from the Rideau Canal.
uOttawa station
Principal elements
Conceptually, the architecture of the stations consists of three principal elements: ground, landscape, and enclosure.
Historic Context

The design required careful consideration of Ottawa’s historic context and the Algonquin first nations population. As many stations were located on federal land, the design development fell under the purview of the National Capital Commission, which required a lengthy review process that enabled station design reflective of the quality befitting Canada’s national capital district.

Section drawing showing Rideau station with Parliament buildings above
Rideau station
Section showing Rideau station with Canada's Parliament buildings.
Rideau station
Perspective section of Rideau station showing circulation.
Rendering of Rideau station interior.
Exterior rendering of Lebreton station.
Lebreton station
Unique and Unifying

We provided preliminary designs for 13 new stations along the line, which included elevated, at-grade, and below-grade typologies. The main unifying element was achieved by designing a structural module for the roof canopy that was adaptable in its overall assembly, allowing various contextual and climatic responses to each site.

Axonometric rendering showing roof components of stations.
Roof systems address customer comfort through a number of strategies that passively mitigate extreme heat and cold conditions of the Ottawa region.

Project Team

Jeff Doble
Peter Busby
Marc Haberli
Yehia Madkour
Aaron Knorr
Shauna Bryce