The architectural design of Ingenium Centre incorporates colourful fins to reference the identity of three Canadian Museums as part of a consolidated, shared facility. Located adjacent to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, Ingenium Centre anchors ‘a campus of discovery’ with its polychromatic urban presence.
Completed in 2019, this mega cultural building houses an eclectic collection of over 1.2 million artifacts, previously stored in the warehouses of three Museums. Consolidating them in a museum-quality environment, the new Ingenium Centre provides purpose-built storage, conservation fluency, and select display opportunities.
The design strategy uses colours to represent the content of each constituent museum; Green is for the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, Blue for the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and Red for the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Moreover, the use of Red, around the entry, anticipates the connection to the upcoming Science Park. The building’s playful facade incorporates these colours (as fins), cutting, and opening the aluminum-cladding to animate the architecture.
Massive in size, it covers nine acres over four floors, arranged as two sliding bars along a central spine. The north bar is clad in blue; the south bar in blue and grey with coloured fins. The elongated south façade also features display vitrines for exhibition, engaging with the public.
The fins are never only one colour. Inspired by the science of lenticular printing, they transition from one to the next—or the perception of them—as viewers move around the building. The lively facades present the building with an eclectic identity, changing with the sightlines. This approach embodies the spirit of the collection, allowing the Ingenium Centre to be as varied as the national treasures it safeguards for posterity.