Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ottawa Engineers Win International Award for Library of Parliament Renovations

The Institution of Structural Engineers, the world's leading professional body for structural engineering, has awarded its Heritage Award for Buildings 2007 to the Ottawa firm of Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the neo-Gothic Library of Parliament.

The institution's Structural Awards are considered the world's leading honour for structural engineering excellence:
"The Library of Parliament is recognised by Canadians as an important symbol of their heritage and history. Built in the capital city of Ottawa in the 1860s as part of the Canadian Parliament building, the Library survived a major fire in 1916 which destroyed the rest of the Parliament complex".

"In 1998 it was decided to rehabilitate and upgrade the building to ensure at least another 50 years of service to the community. The scheme presented a number of challenges to the structural engineers, including conservation of the original fabric, upgrading to meet the current National Building Code requirements including seismic resistance improvements, construction of an underground link to an existing loading dock and, most challenging of all, the construction of an underground mechanical plant room".

"To accommodate the plant room the bedrock beneath the Library had to be excavated, which required major alterations to the vertical load paths within the building. The numbers of columns were reduced from 76 to 12, eight placed close to the inner ring wall and four central columns carried right through the plant room. The excavation work required careful sequencing and constant monitoring of the existing buildings for movement and vibration. Pits were excavated for the central columns. Once these were placed the rock could be removed in 2m deep concentric excavations. The two collection storage level slabs were constructed as rock removal proceeded".

"The care, courage and inventiveness exercised by the structural engineers make this project a worthy winner of the Heritage Award for Buildings".
From June 1999 to June 2000, I worked at the Library of Parliament, in one of the annexes in downtown Ottawa. I often had to go to the central Library building on Parliament Hill and had butterflies in my stomach each time I entered the central room (I am an architecture geek).

The Supreme Court of Canada Library is practically next door.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Library of Parliament renovations include:

  • Library of Parliament Renovations Finally Over (May 17, 2006): "The renovations started in 2002 and are part of the large-scale modernization project of the Parliamentary Precinct, which includes one of the finest collections of neo-Gothic buildings in the world. The Library of Parliament is a veritable architectural gem and is a well-known icon of the Precinct."
  • Renovated Library of Parliament Officially Reopens (May 31, 2006): "Yesterday, the 4-year upgrade to preserve and enhance the Library of Parliament building was officially completed. The project cost $136 million. A ceremony with the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons and the Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, was held to mark the end of the rehabilitation work."
  • Bibliography on Library of Parliament Renovations (June 11, 2007): "The historic Library of Parliament, an architectural treasure here in Ottawa, underwent major renovations from 2002 to 2006. The Supreme Court of Canada building where I work is next door. Last week, the website of the Parliament of Canada posted a bibliography of materials telling the story of the work that was accomplished."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:09 pm


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