Senate of Canada Building
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Not in UK/ROI
Information about this scheme
The building is a prominent component of the Confederation Square National Historic Site and is located within the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site’s buffer zone. Together with the Chateau Laurier Hotel across the street, the building forms a symbolic gateway to the Parliamentary Precinct.
Rescued from demolition when the station closed in 1968, the building was repurposed as the Government Conference Centre (GCC). The program brief required creating a new Senate chamber, new committee rooms, leadership offices, reading rooms, reception, and ceremonial spaces for government functions.
A critical part of the program required a complete replacement of all major building systems as well as compliance with current seismic requirements and life safety upgrades.
Major restoration and rehabilitation work were required to re-establish the character-defining elements of the original building that were lost to decades of expedient and ad hoc renovations. Against this backdrop, the design team inserted a contemporary language of new volumes and insertions, both interior and exterior. Drawing on the precedents of the classical language of the original building and the rich Gothic representation evident in Centre Block, a new layer of material expression is introduced. Innovative explorations in wood, bronze, glass and stone contemporize iconic Canadian symbols and motifs as well as celebrate images of Canadian landscapes.
An important cultural and historic landmark in Ottawa is now the interim home to the Senate of Canada. This project presented many unique opportunities: to restore the historic Beaux-Arts train station; to insert the functions for a Senate program; to upgrade the facilities to a modern 21st- century building; and to give voice to a narrative of Canadian culture and identity.
The project embraces innovative techniques in craftsmanship & fabrication, invokes a contemporary approach to new interventions, and both complements and juxtaposes the character-defining elements of the original building.
Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects, Architects in Joint Venture
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Diamond Schmitt Architects
John G. Cooke & Associates
BermanGlass/Forms and Surfaces
Dominion Sculptor of Canada
Gabriel Mackinnon Lighting Design
State of the Art Acoustic Inc.
Primary Use Class
Sui Generis - Other Use Class not listed above