Prefabrication of a plaster dome for the Memorial Chamber in the West Block of Parliament

March 6, 2019 in Articles

If you’ve ever visited the Parliament of Canada, you’ve seen the beautiful Memorial Chamber on the second floor of the Peace Tower. The room serves as the home for the Books of Remembrance, which are manuscript volumes recording the names of members of the Canadian Forces and Canadian Merchant Navy killed on active service in wartime and in other conflicts. There are seven separate Books, beginning with the first listing the names of the dead from the First World War. With the closure of Centre Block for a decade-long rehabilitation, the Books of Remembrance were moved to their new temporary home in the newly-renovated West Block.

Turning of the Page Ceremony
The Books of Remembrance are subject to an old tradition: Turning of the Page Ceremony. Every morning at 11 a.m., the pages of the Books are turned by a member of the House of Commons Protective Staff. Across a calendar year, each page of each book is turned at least one time. The objective is that in the course of a year, the name of every Canadian who has died at war would see the light.

When Creadditive’s sister company, Acoustique SM, was tasked to fabricate a plaster dome for the new temporary room in the West Block of Parliament, a particular attention was paid to this old tradition; the new Room of Remembrance had to be designed with embedded starlight to honour the Turning of the Page ceremony. The main technical challenge was to build a self-supporting dome that would fit perfectly in the as-built environment of the new room. This is where Creadditive’s expertise in 3D scanning and digital prefabrication played a critical role.

3D scanning of the temporary room
The Books of Remembrance room was first scanned in order to capture the ‘’as-built’’ condition of the construction site before the installation of the plaster dome. As the theoretical space available for the plaster dome was very small, a particular attention was needed for the planification of the installation and clearance around the dome.

Figure 1 : ”As-built” Dome 3D scan

A mock-up was built based on the 3D scan and the measurements previously taken in the room. This mock-up was also scanned to perform dimensional validation and to ensure that the dome was compliant with the original drawings. The ‘’virtual dome’’ was then fitted in its room to assess the final clearances.

The 3D scan results were also used to validate and improve the aesthetics of the final product. Using the architect’s concept drawings, it was possible to create positional references on the mock up to assess the placement, density and orientation of the starlight recesses to ensure that the visual effect intended by the architect would be well rendered in the physical mock-up. Finally, moulds for the decorative trim elements were produced from 3D models derived from the scan of the ceiling mock-up, which itself became the master pattern for the suspended dome. Using these diverse pre-fabrication and digital manufacturing methods allowed to produce a higher quality product with a very tight production schedule, minimizing the risk of delays.

Figure 2 : Dome fit test

The remaining mechanical, electrical and plumbing elements were then fitted around the dome at their final positions. This streamlined method of manufacturing and installation planning using 3D scanning and 3D design allow for an efficient workflow during the whole construction process and greatly reduce time spent fixing errors and misunderstandings. These digital steps were crucial in ensuring the perfect fit of the dome when installed, eliminating the risks and productivity losses incurred with inaccurate manual measurements.

Figure 3: The dome after installation
Source: Julie Oliver/Postmedia
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/books-of-remembrance-now-on-display-in-west-block

 

 

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