TORONTO – The Senate of Canada will soon relocate to the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa while Centre Block on Parliament Hill undergoes extensive renovation. For the next ten years, what was once the Ottawa central train station (1912), will become The Senate of Canada Building.
Diamond Schmitt Architects, in joint venture with KWC Architects, restored and transformed this magnificent Beaux-Arts edifice to meet 21st-century requirements for building code, accessibility, acoustic and technical standards. In doing so, we have created an appropriate environment not only for the Senate to conduct its business but also to welcome the public into the building for the first time in 50 years.
In June 2016, the architects proposed that an acoustic glass wall separate the Senate Chamber and foyer in the former Concourse. After many long discussions with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and the Senate, we were directed to eliminate the separation in favour of their agreed upon undertakings to reduce any potential acoustic impact. Should the Senate choose to ever change its revised approach, structural capacity for a future separation was built into the current design.
Last week, the Senate decided to install an acoustic barrier, and one will be put in place before the building opens in the New Year. There was never any design deficiency in the Chamber’s acoustics. In fact, after many rounds of rigorous testing — including reverberation and speech intelligibility — the new Chamber exceeds the acoustic standards set by the client.
For the first time in its history, The Senate of Canada will televise proceedings from this Chamber, which made acoustic considerations of primary concern from the outset.
About Diamond Schmitt
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is a leading architectural firm with an international reputation for design excellence and sustainable design solutions. An extensive portfolio includes academic buildings, libraries, performing arts centres, sports facilities, master plans, residential and commercial buildings. Equally extensive is work completed for the healthcare sector, with life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals.