Designed by Moshe Safdie & Associates, the almost 50000 square meter large building was constructed between 1985 and 1988.
The sculpture Maman by Louise Bourgeois was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada in 2005.
The Colonnade, a four meter wide ramp, leads to the Great Hall with its three-storey high glass cupola. The ramp was a conscious design decision in order to give the visitor the impression of making the ascent to a ceremony.
The Great Hall has a spectacular geometric atrium. Tepkik by Jordan Bennett was commissioned by Brookfield Place Toronto and was displayed under the roof of the Great Hall in 2020. It was part of the exhibition Àbadakone - Continuous Fire, presenting international contemporary Indigenous art with works by more than 70 artists.
In 2015, the Water Court was renamed into Michael and Sonja Koerner Family Atrium. It features a glass-bottomed pool and skylights
Rideau Street Convent Chapel
Designed by priest-architect Georges Bouillon and built in 1887-1888, the Rideau Street Convent Chapel was a part of the Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Ottawa. As the convent was demolished in 1972, the chapel’s interior was preserved in 1123 pieces. After four years of restoration and reconstruction, it is, since 1988, on display inside the National Gallery of Canada.