The unveiling of a series of new design drawings for the proposed expansion of the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa has done little to quell public criticism of the project.
Architects and owners of the iconic hotel next to the Rideau Canal on Wellington Street had first put forth drawings of a more modern glass addition to the hotel, which was built more than a hundred years ago in a French Gothic style.
Those drawings were roundly criticized, with even Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson chiming in, prompting the design team to showcase their new renderings Thursday to explain the concept better.
At Thursday's showing, the designers showed the changes, which include scaling back the new design for the two-wing addition and increasing setbacks on both the Mackenzie Avenue and Rideau Canal sides of the building.
The changes from September — which the designers say make the addition eight per cent smaller — were perhaps too subtle for the public, judging by the reaction on Twitter.
Just saw the "new" Chateau Laurier plans. Ballsy of them to return with almost the same rejected plans again! Still uninspired and unworthy.— @JA_Foster
Still terrible. This is a National Historic Site. Architect just isn't getting it - scale + setbacks are the issue. https://t.co/mAVinBelQS— @jen_keesmaat
"Still terrible," tweeted Jennifer Keesmat, the chief planner for the City of Toronto. "This is a National Historic Site. Architect just isn't getting it - scale + setbacks are the issue."
Rideau-Golbourn city councillor Scott Moffatt also appeared confused when he saw the images. "Chateau Laurier expansion plans don't appear to be all that different than the original plans," he tweeted. "Maybe somebody can show me why I'm wrong."
Chateau Laurier expansion plans don't appear to be all that different than the original plans. Maybe somebody can show me why I'm wrong.— @ScottMoffatt21
Some people, however, pointed out that the Château itself was not above improvements.
"When you open the Chateau Laurier ballroom curtains, this wall of the adjoining parking structure is what you currently see," tweeted Coun. Tobi Nussbaum, who urged others to carefully review the renderings before passing judgement.
2/ Better a modern addition than a tacked-on faux-historical one pretending to be "historic" - this expansion is honest about itself— @nadeaushow
And others still expressed a genuine like for the plans.
@OttawaMorning I love proposed expansion of Chateau Laurier.. contemporary architecture is beautiful next to classic bldgs. See Ritz in Mtl.— @BrianBoyer1