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Senate of Canada Building

Location: Ottawa, Ont.
Architect: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated and KWC Architects Inc. in Joint Venture

OAA Design Excellence Awards Winner

Energy Efficiency and Carbon Stability

Architects must play a role in stabilizing the climate change crisis, lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in favour of clean power. This year, the OAA required Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) metrics as part of its awards submissions. The lower the number, the less impact the building has on our climate. To learn more, click here.

TEUI: 510 ekWh/m2

The scope of work for this project demanded the restoration of Ottawa’s historic Union Station, transforming it into an interim home for the Senate of Canada. Major rehabilitation work was required to re-establish the character-defining elements of the original building, which were lost following decades of expedient and ad hoc renovations. The additions included a Senate chamber, new committee rooms, offices, reading rooms, reception, and ceremonial spaces for parliamentary functions (and conferences in the future). Moreover, the scope called for a complete overhaul of all major building systems as well as compliance with current seismic requirements and life safety upgrades.
As a re-imagined 1912 Beaux-Arts monument, an entirely new east facade has been designed in accordance to the proportional composition of the building’s historic west facade—in contemporary materials of limestone and glass. The juxtaposition of old and new continues inside. Restored, original features sit in contrast with new pavilions, enclosed in bronze panels. A contemporary layer, these panels are perforated to reveal iconic imagery of Canadian landscapes. Moreover, working collaboratively with the Dominion Sculptor of Canada, and employing digital technologies, the traditional craft is fused with leading-edge fabrication, creating details that evoke the country’s relationship with nature.
A cultural, historic landmark in Ottawa is now renewed and open to the public for the first time in over 50 years—this time as a key democratic institution. The interim home to the Senate of Canada, the new upper chamber will occupy a masterful example of Beaux-Arts classicism that began life in 1912 as the city’s train station. The building is a prominent component of the Confederation Square National Historic Site—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.
The restoration of key heritage features—such as the cast plaster coffered ceilings, marble floors, and imitation travertine plaster wall finishes—allowed the retention of significant embodied energy contained in the original structure. Demolition activities were completed using source sorting and recycling initiatives that resulted in a waste diversion rate of 93 per cent. Building envelope upgrades also resulted in savings of CO2 emissions of 162,000 kg compared to a benchmark building, and a 12 per cent improvement in overall energy efficiency. Combined with improvements in sustainable infrastructure initiatives, the building has achieved Green Globe 4 certification.

Image Credit: Doublespace Photography 

Image Credit: Tom Arban Photography 

Image Credit: Doublespace Photography 
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