Construction Proceeding on New Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton; Building Features Exteriors of Classic Indiana Limestone

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On completion in 2016, the Royal Alberta will be the largest museum in western Canada.

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Construction is underway on the new Royal Alberta Museum, an impressive structure in downtown Edmonton that will double the museum’s floor space compared to its existing 1967 building. Natural limestone from the Indiana Limestone Company, Oolitic, Ind., was selected for the building’s exterior.

Construction completion of the building, expected in 2016, will be followed by gallery fit-up and artifact installation. The Royal Alberta will be the largest museum in western Canada, encompassing 419,000 sq. ft. in total and more than 82,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. The museum celebrates the natural history and the human heritage of the province.

Additional space in the new Royal Alberta Museum will enable it to display much more material from its extensive collections. A substantial Feature Gallery will make the museum a venue for major traveling exhibitions. The new construction also features a 7,000-sq.-ft. children’s gallery and across-the-board improvements to visitor services, with an attractive museum shop, café, outdoor patio, group arrivals area and expansive outdoor gardens

The environmentally friendly new structure is targeting LEED Gold certification. Indiana limestone is a natural product with low environmental impact in its quarrying and preparation.

Cast Supply Edmonton, Inc., is providing the Indiana-quarried limestone for the project. According to Cast Supply President Fraser Powell, a full-range blend in Indiana Limestone Co.’s prized gray color was selected. The stone is being delivered in 2’x5’ precut panels, each 50 mm or 65 mm thick. They are hung on the museum’s exterior walls and laid in mortar.

Precast concrete was originally planned as the material for the museum’s exterior, Powell said – but limestone was specified instead when estimates demonstrated that it could be provided for the same price. Indiana limestone also compares favorably to precast in terms of aesthetics, durability and long-term maintenance.

General contractor for this major design-build project is Ledcor Construction, Edmonton, Alberta. The mason firm and fabricator for the job is Scorpio Masonry of Edmonton.

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Duffe Elkins