Ottawa’s landmark Union Station was constructed between 1902 and 1912 to house Ottawa’s central railway station. Located in the Ottawa downtown core, it’s situated a short distance from Parliament Hill and across the street from the iconic Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel. In the early 1960s, the train tracks and train sheds were removed and replaced with Colonel By Drive parkway. The building sat vacant for quite some time, until it was revived when it underwent renovations in the early 1970s. A south addition was added with a unique geodetic canopy structure. The former Union Station had officially been adapted into the Government Conference Centre, which it remained until this rehabilitation project 2014-2018, which transformed the building into the temporary house of the Senate of Canada. The building was not accessible to the public when it was a Conference Centre, however since 2018 the building is again open to the public for the first time in 55 years. The client’s objective for this rehabilitation was to increase useable floor space. A seismic upgrade of the existing heritage building was also required, along with the design of a new east addition. Existing floor plates required upgrading based on new user requirements. High heritage areas of the building had to be maintained in their original integrity and worked into the design upgrade. Creative solutions were demanded to bring this existing heritage masonry building up to current seismic code, without the structure taking any more room within the floor spaces. Maximizing space was absolutely critical. As well as, ensuring the new building materials were compatible with the existing heritage building materials. Innovation was found in the balance between a minimal intervention approach and upgrading for current code requirements.
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