The Canadian War Museum is designed so the headstone of the Unknown Soldier is illuminated at 11 am on Remembrance Day

War Museum Window

Remembrance window light on tombstone. Steven Darby, CMC

Ottawa, Ontario – Designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Griffiths Rankin Cook Architects, the museum features interior walls finished with copper from the roof Canada’s Library of Parliament, and small windows that spell out ‘Les we forget’ in Morse code. Like the ancient Mayan and Egyptian temples that were carefully designed to direct beams of light to specific locations on the solstice, precisely on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (Remembrance Day) a shaft of light beams down from a small window in the Hall of Remembrances to illuminate the headstone of the Unknown Soldier.

The museum, which opened on May 8, 2005 as a 60th anniversary commemoration of the end of World War II in Europe, features one of the largest green (grass) roofs in North America (115,000 square feet / 10,672 square metres.) The accessible roof is covered in the same type of tall grass that grows along the Ottawa River. It forms a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires little maintence, and which provides a natural form of insualtion reducing energy loss from the building below. The grass roof has been used for concert seating, and water from the river is also used for heating and cooling of the building, irrigating the gardens and filling toilets.

You can now follow the Canadian War Museum on Twitter @CanWarMuseum.


Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario


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