Steel Shots: Crossing the Hall

HSS pony trusses, which frame alabaster-clad pedestrian ramps, begin to cross the Canadian Museum for Human Rights' Hall of Hope. (Photo: Walters, Inc.)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is far from the familiar.

When it opened earlier this fall in Winnipeg, Manitoba, near the east-west center of the country (and roughly 50 miles north of the U.S. border), it was the first national museum to be built since 1967—and the first ever outside of the National Capital Region (Ottawa). The architectural design for the museum was selected from an international competition that included 62 submissions from 12 countries in a judicial review that stretched over a period of 18 months and included three levels of detailed submissions.

Built at a cost of $351 million (Canadian)—funded by private donations and public contributions—the 24,500-sq.-m (260,000-sq.-ft) museum is envisioned to be an iconic symbol of Canada, and Antoine Predock’s winning design draws inspiration from the country’s natural scenery and open spaces. It will serve as a national hub of human rights education and an inspiring forum for human rights issues, as well as a landmark building with its unique structure. Visitors will experience a museum articulating powerful stories in 11 themed galleries that bring human rights ideals to life.

CH2M HILL was selected to provide structural engineering consulting services for the building and helped the architects to support their vision of organic forms with rational structural solutions. From a structural perspective, the project highlights the benefits and importance of modern tools and technology associated with 3D modeling of complex geometric forms and the development of interfacing details for building interwoven components. It also emphasized the adaptability and limitless advantages of structural steel framing, which resulted in smaller gravity load carrying members, more economical foundations, compact connections and linkages between various building components, lightweight long-span floor framing with large column-free areas (up to 100+ ft) and greater overall flexibility in terms of adaptability to future space reconfiguration.

To learn more about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights project, read the article “The Center of Humanity” in the December issue of MSC (available now!).