One town square in Ottawa is transforming its industrial beginnings into a new, green future. This square, part of a larger, masterplanned community called Zibi, will become a mixed-use development offering both residential and commercial spaces, a huge change from the centuries-old industrial past that has been a hallmark of the area.

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rendering of tall tower on city block at dusk

This project, the vision of Kohn Partnership Architects with Teeple Architects in association, encompasses two blocks in the Chaudière West district in Ottawa. Revamping these two blocks, Blocks 206 and 207, will totally transform the neighborhood. There will be a tower on Block 206 that is designed to meet One Planet Living sustainability standards. This tower will include residential units and commercial spaces. The other block will feature a repurposed structure that will shrug off its past as an industrial building to become a modern home to commercial and office spaces.

Related: A former coal mine will become an eco-tourism hotspot in Scotland

rendering brown rectangular building on city block

“Chaudière West is Zibi’s downtown and entertainment quarter, creating a seamless transition from work to play,” reads the project website. “Its pedestrian-first streets and courtyards are lined with boutique hotels, inviting cafes and restaurants and world-class specialty stores. Wander Head Street Square, watch the sunset from the park or enjoy the view of the falls from a patio — this is Zibi at play.”

rendering of twinkle lights above a patio near two large buildings

This square is just one impressive component of a much bigger neighborhood proposal. The entire Zibi project spans 34 acres in both Ottawa and Gatineau; it is a planned community that will refresh and connect these historically industrial locations. The design adheres to all 10 principles of the One Planet Living framework, which envisions a world where people, animals and nature all coexist in harmony. Its vision is about more than reducing carbon emissions; it’s about building better communities. The Zibi project is a stunning realization of this vision as a development designated for humans that still meets sustainability standards and leaves plenty of space for nature to thrive in an urban environment.

rendering of people walking under partially covered patio at dusk

The scope of this project is incredible, and even just this one square will truly transform the look of the entire area. It will also set the tone for others to follow: from a past of pollution, design can emerge as a way to reach a cleaner future.

+ Zibi

Image by Norm Li via Idea Workshop