The Drawing Room, Chateau Laurier Hotel – Fairmont Hotels
Ottawa, Ontario (1912)
A historic chateau now part of the Fairmont Hotel chain. This Bell Epoch chateau building was built at a time of evolving technology. Not quite fully non-combustible in its construction, the ornamental plaster in the grand rooms was the modern cast fibrous plaster that has become popular for elegant spaces over the past thirty or so years. The technology was still evolving. In the Chateau, we find fibrous plaster panels with wood frames at their perimeter. The wood was handy because it allowed carpenters and installers to fix the frames in relation to one another and quickly assemble or install the ceilings. Finishing plasterers and decorative painters then followed.
Repeated flooding of the plenum above the ceiling throughout its 75 year history damaged the elaborate 6000 square-foot plaster ceiling of the Drawing Room, prompting an extensive restoration project. The ornamental frieze in the northwest corner that had sustained the most damage was rebuilt based on templates and casts taken from intact areas of the ceiling. The remainder of the plasterwork, and the five ceiling medallions were treated with HPCS consolidation products to bind the existing plaster and extend its service life.
In recognition of their work on this project, Ralph Weisbrock of KWC Architects and Rod Stewart of HPCS received a Certificate of Merit – Restoration at the 2005 Ottawa Architectural Conservation Awards.