A multi-layered project that aims to capture the spirit of a country
Canada House, located on Trafalgar Square in Central London, has been Canada’s diplomatic home since 1925. But as diplomatic functions expanded and technology evolved, Canada House didn’t keep up—it didn’t celebrate the best of Canada and couldn’t accommodate all the required staff. In this latest renovation every effort has been made to showcase Canada’s natural materials and craftsmanship. This is Canada in the 21st century: a vast country, rich in natural resources and talented people, touched by three oceans, ready to shape our future—and building on the traditions and friendships of the past.
Local perspectives were the foundation of Canada House’s story. We pulled together teammates from all over the country to lend expertise about their home provinces, territories, and regions—expertise that helped us create a unified design.
Uncovering The DayOne goal of the renovation was to find ways to drive natural light deeper.The Queen Elizabeth Atrium brings natural light into the heart of the building. Each flight, as well as rising vertically, steps horizontally across the atrium, allowing daylight to reach each level while providing a clear view from above. But as we worked, we found even more opportunities. The renovations uncovered four original skylights between the two buildings, which became feature elements that delivered abundant daylight to Canada House’s interior. Beneath the skylights, open workspaces provide flexible and varied accommodation. We punched out the ceiling and reinstated the historical double-height space, all while protecting the iconic heritage features. With the curated art, sweeping lines, and bright spaces, some people have even remarked that the new design feels like working “in an art gallery.”
Trafalgar RejuvenationFor a long time, few people actually knew the purpose or location of Canada House. With this remodel, we aimed to change that. Re-opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in February 2015, Canada House now celebrates and gives voice to all Canadians from every region and every walk of life. As the UK’s foremost Commonwealth partner, we felt those voices deserved a prominent presence in one of London’s busiest squares. Enlivening the west side of Trafalgar Square, Canada House is now open for business and working on behalf of all Canadians. If you’re looking for a taste of Canada while in London, visit the Canada House Gallery space, accessed from the Pall Mall entry—it’s free, open daily, and contains a window into contemporary Canadian art.
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