THE ARCH OF LIGHT with Ja Architecture Studio

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Proposal for a public art installation in Ottawa, CN for Lord Stanley's Gift Memorial.


When the two studios gathered for the first work meeting, it was unanimously agreed that the initial challenge should be to create a design proposal that could originate from the iconic shape of the Stanley Cup.

Instead of recreating its shape, the decision was to focus on the outline of the cup and build around the unique silhouette a new and contemporary “Arc De Triomphe”. This notion of an arch would constitute the base with which to design and build a new and contemporary arch of triumph for the sport of hockey. An arch of triumph that could celebrate the heroes of the Stanley Cup.

While investigating the history of “arches of triumph”, as well as the history of hockey and its parallels with Canada’s own history, we realized that the date programmed for the unveiling of the monument during 2017 would mark not only the 125 years of the Stanley’s gift but simultaneously also mark the 100 years of the national hockey league, the 150 years of Canada’s confederation and several other interesting historic moments.

This beautiful alignment of stars would constitute the inspiration and guiding principle for the development of the arch’s design: The new arch should be able to function as an “Arch of Light”, a monument that could simultaneously constitute a sun calendar. Much like the ancient stone constructions carefully created to measure time and its relation with the stars, our design would attempt to capitalize on the unique light of the Northern Hemisphere, to draw with light the Stanley Cup on the floors of the City of Ottawa and mark the passing of time.


The design of the monument was carefully perfected to capture as much light as possible and channel it through its interior shape. Its base was meticulously designed following the position of the sunlight during the calendar year. As a result, as the sun slowly advances, so would the cup, marking on the monument’s floor the different key moments which are celebrated during 2017. And with the passing of the day’s light, the shape of the cup would grow and extend, much like the actual Stanley cup has grown and changed over all these years. The one element that would always remain constant would be the light shinning on its inner edge, illuminating the names, inscribed in metal, of the athletes that have won the Stanley cup over the years.

We believe the Arch of Light will constitute a milestone for the city of Ottawa. That every year the crowds will travel to visit and gather together in this special site to celebrate their heroes. They will wait for the sun to move to its exact calendar point when the illuminated outline of the cup slowly shifts into position to fit the cup’s outline cut into the floor, to light up the key dates for Canada and its favourite sport.

We sincerely hope this new Arch of Light will constitute a monument that can stand as Ottawa’s pride, fulfilling the challenge to become Canada’s most popular future piece of public art. A monument in honour of Lord Stanley’s generous gift. A new keystone for the city of Ottawa.

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