Library of Parliament – Building Envelope Restoration

The beautiful Parliamentary Library is one of the most prominent libraries in the country. It holds the archival records of the Government of Canada including 20 million books and 24 million photographs.

This building has been plagued with difficulties over the years, requiring repeated renovations stemming from a fire in 1916 that almost permanently destroyed it. Inspired by the British Museum Reading Room in London, England, the library was formed as a separate area of Centre Block and attached by a corridor. Access to the library is typically restricted from the general public, though publications from the library can be accessed.

In February of 2002, the Library of Parliament was closed as work began on a thorough restoration. Heather & Little was honored to work alongside the Thomas Fuller Group of Ottawa to provide our services to complete the entire roof as part of an overall a building envelope including, masonry, systemic upgrades, and mechanical restoration.

National Library of Parliament’s Building Envelope Restoration

One of the most prominent heritage buildings in Canada, the restoration of the library involved stripping the entire roof assembly to the structural steel framing, and installing new steel deck, vapour barrier, insulation and plywood decking. The new copper roofing was performed in 20-oz copper, 8-pound lead sheet, lead-coated copper, and Monel metal roofing (a nickel/copper alloy) sheet metal chosen because of its workability. All the decorative cast iron railing and weathervane were restored.

Approximately 1,390 square metres of materials were used to replace both the galvanized iron and lead-coated copper. Heather & Little installed the sheet metal using hand brake-formed in the shop. Roof structures clad include the lantern walls, upper flying buttresses and pinnacles, buttress cap flashing, main roof ribs and cornice, and lantern window exterior cladding. Another 110 square metres of 1.2-mm stainless steel were used to fabricate built-in stainless rain gutters and took approximately four years to complete.

This project was not only a success, but received a North American Copper in Architecture Award for Restoration Projects.

To learn more about this project, view the images below or contact a member of our team today.


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copper roofing library of parliament
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