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where some see challenges

we see a past worth preserving

Revitalizing Canada's national museum was an epic proposition, but with the nation's capital watching, exceeding expectations was the only option.

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PROJECT SNAPSHOT

CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE

216.6 TOTAL PROJECT COST
1.8 KILOGRAMS OF STEEL INSTALLED
14000 TONNES OF SOIL RECYCLED
8 YEARS TO COMPLETE
75000 PROPERTY VALUE IN 1903
22.5 ESTIMATED VALUE TODAY
36.5 HEIGHT OF THE QUEEN'S LANTERN
30 WIDTH OF THE LARGEST CRACK
67000 WEIGHT OF THE MUSEUM, IN TONNES

it takes a respect for the past and a vision for the future to transform an iconic heritage building into a modern masterpiece. take a behind the scenes look with dan carson, one of WSP's most respected structural engineers.

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Project slideshow

view images of Canada’s first National Museum from past and present

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The original architectural plans designed by David Ewart, who was perhaps the most prolific senior architect of public works in Ottawa at the time. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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Construction of the museum began in 1905 and took 5 years to complete. The final cost of construction was just under one million dollars, a significant sum at the time. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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For Ewart, the museum was the most ambitious structure he had ever designed. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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During construction, the building began to sink, which caused massive cracks in the facade. In addition, the iconic tower began to lean over and it had to be dismantled before the project even reached completion. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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One of the original display galleries. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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Visitors pass through the museum's grand entrance. Credit: Library and Archives Canada

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In order to secure the building, a massive steel exoskeleton was attached to the inside walls of the structure.

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The exoskeleton can be seen in some interior areas of the revitalized building.

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Electrical designer Ben Hrubesz led the design of the buildings' electrical systems throughout the restoration.

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The grand re-opening of the museum was highly anticipated and attracted thousands of visitors. Credit: Canadian Museum of Nature

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The massive renovation included the addition of a loading dock, which allows easy access for the museum's artifacts. Previously, all deliveries had to pass through the main entrance.

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Two new high capacity elevators were also included in the restoration, making the delivery process much more efficient.

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A view of the interior of the Queen's Lantern. The newly designed butterfly staircases which aids in moving patrons through the museum can also be seen.

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Visitors bask in the warm light of the Lantern during an evening at the museum. Credit: Canadian Museum of Nature

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One of the museum's most prized possessions, this 65 foot long skeleton of an adolescent blue whale acts as the centrepiece for the museum's brand new exhibition, The Water Gallery.

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The Museum of Nature's collection draws upon over 10 million artifacts from the nation's Research and Collections facility.

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The dinosaur exhibit is one of the favourite destinations in all of the museum.

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A modern cafeteria and gift shop were also included in the museum's restoration.

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Hi-tech board rooms and meeting rooms provide museum staff with ample room to strategize for upcoming shows and exhibits.

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The modern design of the lantern juxtaposed with the original facade of the building provides an interesting architectural contrast and hints at the restorative work that was completed.

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An aerial view of the museum. Steel supports for the building's facade can be seen on various sections of the roof. Credit: Canadian Museum of Nature

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A Modern Castle: The rebirth of the canadian museum of nature

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