Big River Landscape, Nepean Point Design Competition

The winning concept for the Nepean Point redevelopment, entitled Big River Landscape, submitted by Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc. with Patkau Architects, Blackwell Structural Engineers, and ERA Architects Inc., was approved by the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) Board of Directors on November 23, 2017.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) launched in the Spring of 2017 this two-stage international design competition for Nepean Point, which is a promontory at the symbolic heart of Canada’s Capital, Ottawa. Our design seeks to give a voice to various actors and histories, each one connected to Nepean Point in a meaningful way: the land, the river, First Nations, visitors, and all Canadians. To help spur on this conceptual shift, our design for Nepean Point takes inspiration from cultural themes associated with the river’s past, notably those of ‘journey’ and ‘exchange’, and utilizes them to curate experiences that celebrate our layered histories. Our Nepean Point is envisioned as a park in which to experience the ‘Big River Landscape’, by bringing the sensory and aesthetic experience of the landscape to the foreground. We seek to provide a choreographed journey whereby the many voices of Canada – future and past – can be heard.

Of primary importance to us is the restoration and enhancement of connections, both physical and spiritual, to Nepean Point to enable visitors to connect with the river landscape and its stories in ways not currently possible. As one moves through the site, the voices emerge: the gently rustling leaves of the cottonwood trees, the power of the river below, the subtle, ephemeral narratives at Whispering Point, and the animated dialogue around the Gathering Circle. Using a light touch design strategy, the site is flexible and can support all types of gatherings and exhibitions. Ultimately, our design is meant to create an inclusive space, welcoming to all, by providing platforms where Canadians can come together to create new memories. It is a place where life will unfold.

View the complete submission here.


National Capital Commission (NCC)
Ottawa, Ontario
Design Team

Core Team:

Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc. (Lead, Landscape Architect)

Patkau Architects (Architect)

Blackwell Structural Engineers (Bridge Designers)

ERA Architects (Heritage Conservation)

Supporting Team:

The Flat Side of Design (Renderings)

Lisa Prosper (Cultural Heritage Consultant)

Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company LLC (Soil Scientists)

Ombrages-Éclairage Public (Lighting Designers)

Turner & Townsend (Quantity Surveying/Cost Consultant)

EXP Services Inc. (Civil, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering)

Graham Lancaster (Civil Engineer)


Winner, Design Competition

Photography Credit: (Graphics) JRS, The Flat Side of Design and Patkau Architects