The Rideau Carleton Raceway, a fixture in Ottawa since 1962, was last renovated in 2000 and was in need of a complete update. Clientele are generally older, and the goal was to not only keep their existing customer base happy, but to attract a new and younger demographic. Chmiel Architects was commissioned to develop a fresh, new vision for the hospitality areas, which included the 650 seat dining room (offering a panoramic view of the 5/8 mile track) and a new banquet facility for a variety of events.
Working closely with RCR, the concept design took inspiration from the strong graphics found on jockey racing silks, and applied this to the palette of materials for floor and wall finishes. The great 300 foot length of the dining room also led to a rhythmic approach in the design, as was a more neutral attitude towards colour, allowing opportunity for bold accents to be strategically placed. Lighting was also upgraded, incorporating a combination of direct and indirect light sources, creating an impression of layered illumination. Finally, large scale graphics created from images taken from RCR’s track act as very suitable artwork in the re-envisioned space, which is bright, contemporary, and inviting.
The project was completed in April 2016.