CNA House has become an Ottawa landmark with its distinctive lantern tower and international style architecture. Designed by Ottawa architect James Strutt, the original building was completed in 1966. In 1988, 810 square metres, including an award-winning board room, was added to the south end of the building.
The focal point of CNA House is the six-metre lantern, the universal symbol of nursing, dating back to Florence Nightingale, founder of the modern profession. At the base of the lantern are four friezes of unpolished grey slate by Eleanor Milne, the official architectural sculptor for Canada's Parliament Buildings. CNA's friezes tell the story of the span of nursing practice: birth (east), service (south), knowledge (west), and death (north).