Deconstructing Architecture: The Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa is sustainably designed with the notion of regeneration. At the back it rises gently  out of the landscape in some places barely visible. In the summer its green roof sways with approx 10,684 square metres of native grasses further integrating the building into the surroundings. In the winter I love how minimalist it appears from different angles, how the materials used and the cement in particular, soften against the snow. Every angle intriguing.

While nature may be ravaged by human acts of war, it inevitably survives, regenerates and renews itself.Raymond Moriyama, Architect

All images © Karen McRae

A Quiet Storm

More Pictures from Friday’s perfect storm. I warned you we liked to talk about the weather…

The sailboat docks in the frozen harbour.

I brought along an umbrella to protect my camera from the snow somewhat, it was an umbrella failure in the swirling winds. Sharp umbrella skeleton bits poking out every which way. I have yet to find a decent umbrella that can stand up to a bit of wind.
(Click on images to enlarge)
All images © Karen McRae

Glassy-Eyed: Tiny Sculptures in the Landscape

As difficult as it can be when Mother Nature throws abhorrent weather at us there is usually an up-side. A magical beauty that can’t be achieved in any other way. If you take the time to look around carefully you might be surprised. And if you put on your woolies and come wading through the crunchy topped snow , bruising your shins as you break through and bending your body to the crust you might see something like this. And you will be charmed. The spell will be broken only by the numbness creeping through your limbs.

All images © Karen McRae

Back Lane Café Collaboration

The Hintonburg area of Ottawa is crawling with hip new restaurants and one of the latest additions is the Back Lane Café. I got a chance to visit on the weekend and although it wasn’t for the food this trip,  I will definitely be making a culinary visit in the near future.

I was there to photograph an interior design collaboration initiated by the owner George Monsour who recently returned to Ottawa from 6 years in Paris. My friends over at Rusty Nail  Design were tasked with creating a charming time-worn interior in a completely stripped down shell.

“The intention with this restaurant was to combine the transparent and informal workings of a colonial bakery with the subtle sophistication of a classic Parisian cafe. These two elements were combined using original Canadian architectural items (see the facade over the bar). Recovered logs from the Rideau river milled for flooring, doors and iron work from turn of the century  Canadian houses and post & beams from local barns.”
There certainly is a Parisian feel to the café but it also has more contemporary elements that give it a bit of a fresh edge. The custom concrete counter at the bar for example was finished to give it a look somewhat like aged metal with a lovely rich surface.

On Sunday the Rusty Nail crew were busy installing a new element to the interior, designed to help improve the acoustics.

A sound dampening material was essentially hidden inside some reclaimed shuttered window frames and mounted to the wall. This cuts down significantly on the space previously showcasing artwork but solves an important problem.

Rusty Nail called in another person to collaborate on this project. Artist Heather Snow contributed curly ironwork mounted to the front of each window. There is other iron work dotted around the café pulling all the elements together. (I will confess here that Heather Snow is my sister! She has recently become a welder which brings up her coolness factor significantly in my books)

You can find out more about these innovative artist/designers here:
Rusty Nail Design
Heather Snow
The Back Lane Café is located at 1087 Wellington St. W.Ottawa, ON 613-695-2999 No website yet but they are on Twitter and the reviews are excellent! I also got a peek at the bright beautiful kitchen with lots of natural light and 2 specialty wood burning ovens. Can’t wait to try the food!

Thanks to everyone at The Back Lane Café, Rusty Nail Design and to Heather Snow! And thanks to Desire to Inspire for re-blogging my photos!

All images © Karen McRae