TREASURY BUILDING - THE SECRETARIAT
Historical Grandeur (Modified)
The Old Parliament building, which now houses the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Finance, is a prominent landmark that cannot be missed when passing Galle Face Green in Colombo Fort. This magnificent architectural structure symbolizes its historic importance even amidst the surrounding giant constructions erected in later years. The building housed the Sri Lanka Legislative Council for 53 years till the new Parliament was opened at Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte in 1983. Hence, it was in this building that the vital discussions and debates on the rebuilding of a post-independent Sri Lanka took place.
The idea to construct this building was first mooted by Sir Henry E. McCallum in 1912. The proposal made by a committee to construct the new building for "the Secretariat, Council Chamber and Government offices on reclaimed land at the Northern end of Galle Face" was accepted by the Government in 1920 and the plans for the building with three floors was approved in April 1925. The building was designed according to the ‘Ionic Style', one of the five architectural orders, and resembles the temple of the Greek Goddess Athena, which stands even today on the Acropolis hills in Athens. Chief Architect of the Public Works Department, A. Woodson, was responsible for the design of the old Parliament, which incorporated an open outlook to ensure maximum ventilation from the sea breeze flowing across the Galle Face Green. Opposite this Neo-Baroque classical sandstone structure, one can still see the old cannon, located on the edge of Galle Face, pointing towards the Indian Ocean. This perhaps is a reminder that it was once a military stronghold.