24 Sussex: Student visions for PM’s home

In a special series, Tony Atherton goes to some of our city’s top architects and designers to get a sense of what could be done with our PM’s former home

In addition to the three Ottawa designers/architects featured — Christopher Simmonds, Barry J. Hobin, and Chris Straka — we asked students in Carleton University’s School of Architecture to imagine what they would do with 24 Sussex. The following is their visions for the prime minister’s home:

Jason Surkan — 4th Year, Bachelor of Architectural Studies


“Sitting above the Ottawa River, the residence offers incredible views of Parliament and the surrounding Gatineau Hills. This proposal capitalizes on sight-lines through orientation and strategically placed glazing. A large grand hall at the heart of the house holds a central fireplace. The formal dining and living rooms look to the north over the Canadian landscape. These rooms open up onto a large deck and the house’s backyard.



“Upstairs, the main family spaces are positioned on an east west axis, giving the prime minister and family their own private space. The house is constructed of Cross Laminated Timber, orientated to the south for passive solar heating. The narrow volumes are cross-ventilated and capped with extensive green roofs. Solar panels are orientated for optimal solar collection. The house is a reflection of the modern Canadian home. It is embedded in the landscape, open and built to a sustainable future.”



Matthew Lerch & Jean-Olivier Larocque — M.Arch students

“The intention behind our design was to separate the traditional formal spaces from the private spaces. The home is intended to serve the juxtaposed identities of private and public life in which we understand our prime minister as an individual as well as a significant public figure. This creates two ‘houses’ connected by a transparent entrance. The public space reaches out past the limestone cliff overlooking the Ottawa River. The private residence recedes; it is smaller with strategically placed windows creating a more intimate experience. The projected portion of the public area communicates a sense of transparency between the political realm of the house and the public realm beyond.”


Sebastian Wooff — M.Arch thesis student

“This proposal for a new residence at 24 Sussex Drive continues the established function as foremost a residence for the Prime Minister and his/her family. Through formal design strategies, the house focuses on maximizing common areas of the house around the northwest view of the Ottawa River, which establishes large, open spaces for the dining room, living room and study. The volume is split in two, with the large volume home to the Prime Minister, and the smaller volume for staff, security and guests. The house is vertically clad in digitally fabricated wood siding referencing Ottawa’s past timber industry, as well as presenting a new and sophisticated cladding for residential architecture.”

Sebastian Woof1


Steven Schuhmann — M.Arch thesis student

“This proposal maintains 24 Sussex Drive foremost as a place of residence. It re-imagines the official residence of the prime minister through the separation of its familial and diplomatic duties. The residence is organized on three levels, the ground floor serving as the most public of spaces, capable of hosting dinners, meetings or gala-type events. The second floor contains bedrooms, a guest suite and the family’s private living space. The third floor houses the master bedroom and a terrace overlooking the Ottawa River.”


Schuhmann 1st floor

Schumann 2nd floor

Schuhmann 3rd floor