The Old Parliament Building is the Presidential Secretariat in Sri Lanka. It is located opposite the Colombo Fort, next to the Presidential Palace and the General Treasury Building. The building remained in the island’s Legislature for 53 years until the opening of the new Parliamentary Complex in Sri Jayewardenepura in 1983.
The neo-baroque style building was built during the British colonial period for the Legislative Council of Ceylon. It was built on the idea of Sir Henry McCallum. The building was designed by Woodson, the chief architect of the Department of Public Works. Opened by Governor Sir Herbert Stanley on January 29, 1930 as the Legislative Council.
The revival architecture of the old parliament building in Sri Lanka combines excellent columns of classic “ionic” design. There is an entrance to this wonderful building. There are six columns supporting the traditional triangular pediment on the top and four more columns on either side. It is eleven columns along the structure. Woodson gave the building an open look that could benefit from the cool breeze. He was smart enough to shield himself from the noise of the afternoon sun and the sea noise on the east side of the building. Woodson was particularly concerned with the interior design. Coke carpet and linoleum were used to reduce noise.
Until 1948, the top of the British Coat Building was decorated. It was replaced by the arms of the Dominion of Ceylon, and again in 1972 by the arms of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Since 1983, the former Parliament has served as the Presidential Secretariat and the Executive Presidential Secretariat. All important official announcements are made and public administration is appointed. The building, in particular the former Chamber of Commerce, is a venue for various state affairs.
There are several bronze statues of veteran diplomats in the front garden of the old parliament building. that include:
the Hon. S. Senanayake – Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister
Dudley Senanayake – Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Gen. Sir John Kotalawela – Prime Minister of Ceylon
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan K.C.M.G. – Attorney General and the first elected member of a legislative council of the British Empire
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