Constructed in 1912 as Ottawa’s Union Station, the Government Conference Centre (GCC) served as an important railway hub in downtown Ottawa until 1966, at which time it was converted to a conference centre for the federal government. Today the building is being refurbished to accommodate the Senate of Canada for ten years, when it will revert back to its role as the GCC.
Designed by Montreal’s architectural firm Ross and MacFarlane, this extraordinary building is a fine example of the Beaux-Arts tradition popular in the early 20th century, and bears many similarities to New York’s legendary Pennsylvania Station. Located just east of Parliament Hill and adjacent to the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site, the GCC is an impressive landmark sitting at the juncture between Town and Crown.
ERA Architects is working as the heritage architects with DSA-KWC Architects in Joint Venture, as well as John Crooke and Associates as structural engineers. The rehabilitation aims to reveal the historical elements of the building that were concealed when it was converted to the GCC, such as the theatrical character of the interior procession, the axial progression of spaces, the dramatic use of natural light, and the rich palette of materials, while meeting the project’s functional and technical requirements. In addition, previous insertions in the significant interior spaces, such as the General Waiting Room and Concourse spaces will be removed. Given the GCC’s character, it is well suited to accommodate the Senate program and support its ceremonial traditions.
For a link to project details and renderings on the Public Services and Procurement Canada website, click here.