West Block rehabilitation project, Ottawa, Canada: Façade constructor seele provided the parliament building with a steel construction and a striking curved glass roof with laylight glazing beneath.

West Block Rehabilitation Project, Ottawa, Canada

west block rehabilitation project

Preserving traditional architecture without having to forgo the up-to-date building infrastructure of the 21st century – that is the principle behind the full modernisation of the famous neo-Gothic ensemble of the Canadian Parliament at Ottawa, Canada which is currently ongoing. A striking curving glass roof is to be built over the central courtyard of the West Block so that it can serve as a temporary chamber for the Canadian House of Commons.

Conversion work will continue until 2017. With such a large area of glass elaborate light, shade and heat management is needed so that MPs can enjoy ideal working conditions without glare or disagreeable temperatures. seele is turning the architects’ exacting creative and building physics concepts into reality, and is also responsible for designing and installating the columns and roof elements.

  • In terms of its construction, the roof pursues the idea of preservation because it is totally separate from the existing building, floats, as it were, above the essentially unchanged courtyard façades. The loads are carried via modern steel structures, their delicate, branching form reminiscent of trees. Large sound absorbers fitted between the “branches” ensure good room acoustics. The triple-glazing units chosen for the upper, i.e. outer, glazing guarantee optimum thermal performance in winter. Below the load-bearing structure, laylights form a second layer of glazing. Glass in various colours here plus movable louvres to control the incoming light will determine the lighting in the chamber.

    Four mock-ups have been built to assist the design work. The largest of these measuring 7.5m x 12m and replicating a complete corner of the roof including drainage and the junction with the building. This mock-up is subjected to the thermal cycling test, which is compulsory in North America and verifies the imperviousness of the design even under extreme temperature and pressure fluctuations.

    Images: © ARCOP/FGMDA 

2,485sqm triple-glazed curved glass roof  938t steelwork for roof and columns  2,554sqm laylight glazing

Project diary of seele's installation progress at West Block

Since 2016 the installation at the West Block in Ottawa is in full swing. In any wind and weather structural steel work, the domed, glazed roof and the laylight glazing are installed in order to complete the courtyard glazing in 2017 acoording to the installation schedule.

  • 31/08/2017: The last one of 92 acoustic panels is installed. The up to 1.5t heavy panels were produced at seele Germany and then shipped to Canada together with a special crane in order to be installed on site.

    31/08/2017: The last one of 92 acoustic panels is installed. The up to 1.5t heavy panels were produced at seele Germany and then shipped to Canada together with a special crane in order to be installed on site.

  • 12/07/2017: The first laylight glazing elements are installed already and the installation of the huge acoustic panels will commence within the next days.

    12/07/2017: The first laylight glazing elements are installed already and the installation of the huge acoustic panels will commence within the next days.

  • 05/07/2017: Installation of the service catwalk is completed, too.

    05/07/2017: Installation of the service catwalk is completed, too.

  • 05/07/2017: Almost all components of the outer roof construction are installed and sealing works can start.

    05/07/2017: Almost all components of the outer roof construction are installed and sealing works can start.

  • 04/05/2017: 52 days after the Installation of the first glass pane the last one was installed today successfully.

    04/05/2017: 52 days after the installation of the first glass pane the last piece was installed today successfully. During the following weeks seele will install the secondary and primary sealings.

  • 29/03/2017: Glass installation on site is proceeding since March.

    29/03/2017: Glass installation on site is proceeding since March. Depending on the weather 15 - 45 glass panes are installed per day.

  • 21/02/2017: Canadian comedian Rick Mercer assisted the seele team with the installation of the first glass pane.

    21/02/2017: Canadian comedian Rick Mercer assisted the seele team with the installation of the first glass pane. The video was broadcasted as part of his "Mercer Report" on TV.

  • 15/02/2017: In mid-February, seele’s aluminium construction for the roofing was completed.

    15/02/2017: In mid-February, seele’s aluminium construction for the roofing was completed.

  • December 2016: In order to continue installation under extreme weather conditions, tons of snow had to be cleared from the roof.

    December 2016: In order to continue installation under extreme weather conditions, tons of snow had to be cleared from the roof.

  • October 2016: In order to facilitate roofworks, seele installed a netting system.

    October 2016: In order to facilitate roofworks, seele installed a netting system. The seele project Brookfield Place, Calgary was the first ever approval in Canada for this type of system.

  • September 2016: the last steel beam of the 938t primary steel structure was installed with a small topping out ceremony.

    September 2016: the last steel beam of the 938t primary steel structure was installed with a small topping out ceremony.

‹ Prev Next ›

Special assistance for installing first pane of glass

On 21 February the Canadian Comedian Rick Mercer visited the West Block to make a film for his “Rick Mercer Report” comedy series and helped the various trades carry out their work, including the seele employees. Together with the erection personnel and Site Superintendent Marvin Sommerfeld, he mounted the first glass element on the roof structure and signed the steelwork underneath.

Client PWGSC – Public Works and Government Services CAN
Main contractor PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Architect ARCOP/FGMDA
Engineer Ojdrovic + Cooke, Engineers
Date of completion 2017
Scope of seele supply

Development, 3D design, testing, production and installation of elements

  • 2,485sqm triple-glazed curved glass roof
  • 938t steelwork for roof and tree columns
  • 2,554sqm laylight glazing under roof
  • 871sqm movable louvres
  • 1,813sqm open-grid flooring for service catwalk at roof level
  • 925sqm acoustic panels
  • 208sqm mock-ups

More office buildings

Top