Rehabilitating the Government Conference Centre and office accommodation
Built in 1912, the Government Conference Centre, which was once Ottawa's central train station, occupies a prominent location in downtown Ottawa at 2 Rideau Street, a short distance from Parliament Hill. Other than limited adaptations done in the 1970s, the building remained in its original state and was in critical need of rehabilitation.
In accordance with the Long Term Vision and Plan, once rehabilitated the Government Conference Centre will accommodate the Senate for the duration of the Centre Block rehabilitation. Rehabilitation work began in 2015 and building occupancy is planned for the opening session of Parliament in the fall of 2018.
The building is a good fit for the Senate. It is close to Parliament Hill and has a variety of column-free spaces that will adapt well to Senate use. Its high ceilings allow it to accommodate the interim Senate Chamber. It will also house the Senate legislative and leadership functions, three committee rooms and support spaces. Since there is not sufficient space within the Government Conference Centre to fit all the Senate functions being vacated, space in proximity to the East Block has also been leased to accommodate the full complement of functions currently housed in Centre Block.
The Government Conference Centre rehabilitation work includes:
- Restoring the stone masonry;
- Seismic and exterior envelope upgrades to reinforce the building's structural integrity for earthquakes;
- Replacing obsolete electrical, mechanical and life-safety systems to meet current codes;
- Renovating the interior space;
- Removing outdated conference amenities added in the late 1960s, such as translation booths;
- Conforming to universal accessibility requirements;
- Removing hazardous materials;
- Expanding the loading dock; and,
- Ensuring compliance of vertical circulation, which includes elevators and stairs, to meet building codes and barrier free design.
The Senate Chamber
The Chamber has been designed as a pavilion within the block, highlighting the volume of the original heritage space and preserving the historic vaulted coffered plaster ceiling and skylight. The historic finishes and contemporary detailing resonate with the rich and long history of the Senate.
Urban beehive initiative
Public Services and Procurement Canada has partnered with the Senate of Canada, Carleton University and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier to launch Ottawa’s first installation of urban beehives on the roof of a federally-owned building.
This initiative is one of the many sustainable features used in the overall modernization of the Parliamentary Precinct.
About the partnership
The Parliamentary Precinct Branch and the Senate Accommodation project teams have partnered with students from Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. These students were asked to come up with innovative beehive designs, to be constructed and installed in 2018.
Here is a snapshot of the rehabilitation of the Government Conference Centre:
- Scope: Complete rehabilitation of the building and accommodation of Senate functions (within the Government Conference Centre and leased office space).
- Project status: Demolition has been completed and major construction work began in winter 2015.
- Project cost: $269 million (excluding Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)). The overall budget is not limited to the construction work. The budget also includes items such as:
- leased office space and fit-up;
- planning, professional and consultant fees;
- architectural design fees;
- demolition work;
- abatement of hazardous materials;
- seismic upgrading;
- restoration of exterior masonry and roof;
- replacement of mechanical, information technology and electrical systems;
- security upgrades;
- fit-up of interior spaces;
- risk, escalation and contingencies.
- Job opportunities: The overall project is estimated to help create or sustain approximately 1,400 jobs.
- Design contract: Competitively awarded to Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and KWC Architects Inc. in joint venture. (Consult the contract history: contract number EP764-140495/001/FE.)
- Construction management services contract: Competitively awarded to PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Consult the contract history: contract number EP760-140543-001-FG.)
Read more about the Government Conference Centre
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