The Canadian War Museum, at approximately 440,000 square feet, accommodates all of the museum’s public exhibition displays, collections storage, and conservation, curatorial, and administration functions in one facility.
The building structure is a complex composition of sloped, angular planes, constructed mainly of 47,086 cubic yards of exposed, cast-in-place concrete. Wall angles range from vertical to 31 degrees — eight different angles in all — most of which required an architectural board-formed or plywood mosaic finish. The structure also features posttensioned concrete beams that span the expansive lobby, as well as 596 tons of exposed structural steel. The building’s exterior features exposed, board-formed, “site cast-in-place” insulated concrete wall panels, aluminum-framed glazed entrances, and canted curtain wall that looks out onto Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River. The sloping copper roof at the east end of the building rises to form the 80-foot Regeneration Hall, a dramatic feature with a direct sightline to the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
The environmentally sensitive landscaped roof is both low maintenance and self-seeding and, at 179,757 square feet, is one of the largest green roofs of its kind in North America. The selection of building materials also reflects the museum's sustainable design. From the copper (taken from the roof of the Library of Parliament) to the museum's carpets, recycled materials were used as much as possible.
Three-dimensional drawings were used in specific construction areas of the museum, identifying and correcting issues to save considerable time and add value. An example is the installation of a 3,000-pound CF-5 fighter jet, one of the museum’s principle artifacts. Using 3-D drawings, PCL was able to provide an accurate and safe procedure for installation, saving the client days of trial-and-error efforts.