The Senate of Canada requires a temporary Ottawa base while its permanent office and Chamber in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill undergo a decade-long renovation in 2018. The Government Conference Centre, fashioned from the city’s century-old train station, provided the solution; it is across the street from Parliament with a grand Beaux-Arts style befitting the storied legislative role of The Senate.
Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects in Joint Venture are updating the facility, restoring architectural features and adding a public face to the previously unfinished east façade. The renovations will also reintroduce the processional route through the building while restoring the major public spaces including the finely detailed General Waiting Room and Concourse.
The building will house the Senate Chamber, Senate committee rooms and parliamentary offices and restore interior design features of columns, arches, large Diocletian windows and vaulted plaster ceilings. The Library of Parliament will conduct tours of the building, allowing the public in for the first time in decades.
The building will become universally accessible and more functional, with new elevator banks and staircases to connect the north and south blocks. Structural, mechanical and electrical systems will be brought up to current codes. State of the art IT, broadcasting and lighting enhancements will position the building for many more decades of renewed use.