The Senate of Canada Building

“The 105-year-old building boasts fresh features that evoke our country’s rich history. The intersection of existing historical finishes and contemporary design make for a truly unique space in the nation’s capital.”

Senate of Canada

How do you transform a turn of the century Beaux Arts train station into a new home for The Senate of Canada? The challenges of redefining historic spaces, undertaking intricate heritage restoration and engaging in heroic efforts to introduce contemporary requirements for building upgrades results in a complete rethinking of how to approach historic adaptation.

Over a century ago Ottawa’s former Union Station sat at the junction of Town and Crown, part of a gateway building to the Canadian Parliamentary Precinct. A majestic and monumental building crafted in the Beaux Arts style, the station featured limestone facades and cast iron detailing. Decades of urban development masked this original intention and left the building with an unfinished facade along a major city route. Taking cues from the classical language of the original building a new and distinctly modern east facade completes the building for the first time, re-establishing its place amongst the great landmarks of Ottawa.

The grand and monumental interior spaces of the Great Waiting Room and Concourse together form a restored processional route through the building. Carefully calibrated to the scale and volume of these original spaces the insertion of new pavilions provide accommodation for major committee rooms and a new Senate Chamber. These redefined spaces are designed with a layer of detailing that purposefully includes both traditional and modern craft, establishing a rich narrative of distinctly Canadian landscape, imagery and identity.

New spaces, upgraded infrastructure and the introduction of elegant materials and finishes, combines with careful restoration of historic elements to breathe new life into this building, providing for the Senate now and the city for future generations.

Client Public Works and Government Services Canada
Completion 2019
Sustainability Green Globes Target, LEED Silver Candidate


In joint venture with KWC Architects
Photography Tom Arban and Doublespace Photography


Awards See all project awards
2021 International Architecture Award – The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies
2020 Civic Trust Awards – Award of Excellence
2020 AIA Canada Design Excellence Award
2020 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Design Excellence in Architecture
2020 OAA Design Excellence Award
2020 CODA Award of Merit
2020 Ontario Heritage Trust – Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation
2019 Architects Newspaper Awards, Adaptive Reuse, Honorable Mention
2019 Ottawa Urban Design Award – Urban Infill, Low Rise
2019 Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Awards – Institutional
2019 Building Design + Construction Magazine Reconstruction Awards – Silver
2019 Ottawa Heritage Awards: Adaptive re-use (government), Award of Excellence
2019 North American Copper in Architecture Awards – Ornamental Applications
Team See full project team