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Library and Archives Canada’s Gatineau 2 Project

ProjectLibrary and Archives Canada’s Gatineau 2 Project
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Plenary Americas

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Library and Archives Canada’s Gatineau 2 Project involves the design, construction, financing, facility maintenance, and lifecycle of a new archival facility behind – and physically connected to – LAC’s existing Preservation Centre. 

The new Preservation Storage Facility is a specialized, flexible, and sustainable building, with objectives aligned to meet the Government of Canada’s priorities to invest in sustainable federal infrastructure and Canadian culture.

Project facts


Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Library and Archives Canada

Value (NPV)

C$330 million

Our role

Lead developer

Financial advisor

Lead equity investor


PCL Constructors Eastern Inc.


B+H Architects


ENGIE Services Inc.

Financial close date

April 2019

Completion date

May 2022

Contract terms

Design, build, finance, and maintain for 33 years

At the leading edge of technology, the new state-of-the-art Preservation Storage Facility is the world’s largest that is equipped with an automated storage and retrieval system for archival collections. The Facility provides 21,500 cubic metres, or the equivalent of about 8.5 Olympic swimming pools, of collection storage capacity in two highly controlled environments across six vaults.

The Preservation Storage Facility is also the first Net Zero Carbon archival centre in the Americas. In addition to the new facility works, Plenary Properties Gatineau will be responsible for facility maintenance, lifecycle, energy retrofitting, and shelving optimization at the existing Preservation Centre.

View of the new Preservation Storage Facility building, surrounding landscape and the original Preservation Centre in the background

Design features

In order to protect the invaluable collection materials from flooding, the vaults are located well above grade, directly above program spaces and staff areas on the ground floor.

The risk of water damage is further mitigated by the “buffer zone” surrounding the concrete vaults in the interior on all sides, as well as with roof drainage that draws rainwater away from the vault ceilings to prevent water accumulation.

Inside the vaults, strict requirements for temperature and humidity serve to maximize the storage life of the collection. These environmental set points are achieved through individually dedicated mechanical systems, with backup capacity to provide continuous support in the event of a temporary outage.


The Gatineau 2 Project also includes shelving optimization and energy efficiency initiatives to maximize storage space and reduce the environmental impact of LAC’s operations.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the pre-existing Preservation Centre, which will be connected to the new facility by a pedestrian bridge, will be reduced by 80%.

In keeping with the government’s efforts to promote environmental stewardship, additional sustainable performance considerations have been integrated into the Project Agreement.

The refit of specific storage spaces supports LAC’s commitment to reducing its physical footprint and greening its activities by using efficient systems and adapted shelving structures.

Local economic impacts

The construction project was a significant boost to the local economies of Gatineau and the broader National Capital Region (NCR) by directly and indirectly creating and supporting over a thousand person years of employment during construction.

At the peak of construction, between 150 and 200 workers were on site daily. The majority of the labour force was sourced from the NCR.

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