The Canadian War Museum houses some of the finest military collections in the world and aims to educate the public about the historical impact of war, while remembering those who served in Canada’s armed forces. 

The museum was delivered in time to honor the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.  In addition to a greatly expanded exhibit space with enough room to display military vehicles, the new museum has a theater for performances, a memorial hall for reflection, improved research and library facilities, classrooms and outdoor event spaces.  

Our use of virtual design and construction tools helped us creatively solve many issues, while saving the client time and money. The museum’s angular design is unique and required we build custom ceiling panels for the lobby interior. After modeling the ceiling in 3D, we discovered the original two-dimensional drawings were up to six inches off. We used virtual construction to determine the exact dimensions of the ceiling grid, which were relayed to the ceiling manufacturer. This helped avoid any delays related to the ceiling. 3D drawings also supported the installation of a 3,000-pound CF-5 fighter jet, one of the museum’s principle artifacts. Using these drawings, we provided an accurate and safe procedure for installation, saving from trial-and-error efforts.

Selecting the building materials to reflect the museum’s sustainable design was a main priority for the client. Our team used recycled materials as much as possible, such as reclaimed copper from the Library of Parliament roof. We also incorporated a 179,757-square-foot environmentally sensitive landscaped roof, one of the largest of its kind in North America. The self-sustaining, low maintenance ecosystemcontains a 300-millimeter mix of soil and a retention board that can hold up to 720,000 liters of storm water. These combined green roof features provide additional insulation to reduce energy loss as the plants help cool and clean the air above the building.  

The building’s structure combines a mix of complicated sloped and angular planes; the walls even consist of eight different angles. We embraced the design’s angular dynamism to build a sloping copper roof that forms the 80-foot Regeneration Hall, the highest point in the museum. The dramatic space features angled walls that rise with a sightline to the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.  

The Canadian War Museum, with an emphasis on the human experience of war, is one of the most meaningful public spaces we’ve worked on. The museum continues to welcome more than 500,000 visitors a year eager to learn more about this aspect of history.   

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