Restoring and modernizing the West Block — a landmark project
In 1859, architects Thomas Stent and Augustus Laver designed the West Block in a Gothic Revival style. It was designated a Classified federal heritage building in 1987 for its important historical associations, architectural quality and environmental impact. It now plays host to Canada’s members of Parliament in its interim House of Commons Chamber, a soaring, glass-roofed structure, built into the central courtyard at the heart of the building.
For Beaubois, the mandate was to restore and modernize the monument to meet the current and future needs of 21st century Parliamentarians while respecting its roots, anchored in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Beaubois team took on this challenge with passion, which is no small feat as the entirety of the building’s rooms had to be assessed and restored, while maximizing space. In order to preserve the look and ancestral aspect of the building’s 150-year-old wood components, Beaubois worked meticulously, according to stringent industry guidelines. This required the use of carefully selected and crafted cherry wood, maple, and red oak. Bronze accents were integrated throughout, for a spectacular finishing touch.
Within the framework of this project, two stunning wooden ceilings were constructed by Beaubois. The first, located in the West Block, is a towering spiral ceiling that leaves a truly awesome impression. The complexity of this work required the use of state-of-the-art laser measuring tools and software, which allowed the team to complete the task in a record time while ensuring rigorous quality control. Located in the walkway linking the West Block to the Visitor Centre, the second ceiling showcases sweeping curves and large circular skylights that contrast the dark cherry wood design.
In terms of Canadian heritage building restoration and modernization, this was an absolute landmark project.