TORONTO – Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects in Joint Venture have received a North American Copper in Architecture Award for the Senate of Canada Building. The grand Beaux-Arts structure from 1912 – formerly Ottawa’s train station – features a contemporary language of interventions and materials that both complement and contrast the celebrated features of the newly restored landmark.
The Senate Building is the only project selected this year in the Interior and Ornamental award category. The principal application of architectural copper alloys is in the monumental bronze panels which act as facades for three committee rooms, two of which are inserted in the station’s high-vaulted General Waiting Room.
Measuring 14m long by 6m tall each, these perforated panels feature photographic imagery of classic Canadian landscapes upscaled and transposed into a halftone pattern. Scenes from the Rocky Mountains and Cape Race on the Atlantic coast reveal themselves as one approaches the entrance to the rooms. A third committee room features a scene of a Vancouver Island logging train across a similarly large copper canvas.
“A new layer of material expression is introduced through explorations in bronze and other materials to contemporize iconic Canadian symbols and scenes,” said Martin Davidson, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “These bronze panels are mounted on sound-absorbing insulation to attenuate sound reverberation in the large hall, so they have acoustic properties as well.”
To view the process by which these panels were made, please see this short video:
This is the third North American Copper in Architecture Award for Diamond Schmitt. The Senate of Canada Building received an Ottawa Heritage Award earlier this year.
The Senate will remain in the building for the duration of major restoration to Centre Block on Parliament Hill. The Senate Building is designed to convert to conference and office use, securing its preservation and prominence in Ottawa for the next century.
Diamond Schmitt Architects has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. The firm’s extensive portfolio includes commercial, institutional and residential buildings, performing arts centres, and healthcare facilities. Among current projects are Ottawa’s Main Library and Library and Archives Canada, Robarts Common at the University of Toronto, and Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts & Sciences in Texas.