The legislative buildings are the defining structures of democracy in Canada’s provincial capital cities. Aside from being the focal point for government, they’re also a tremendous source of history and civic pride for the cities in which they reside. Many legislative buildings, however, are more than 100 years old.
Saskatchewan’s historic Legislative Building in Regina turned 104 years old in 2016, and time has taken its toll on the iconic structure, especially the once-lustrous copper dome. PCL was hired to restore the building to its original condition. After more than two years of construction, the restored dome was revealed during a public ceremony May 2016.
Most of the original 1912 framing and materials remain on the legislature, and the goal is to sustain the classic look of the building. The structure has shifted during its 100-plus years in Regina. In addition to the copper dome, Tyndall stone blocks on the building’s exterior need to be replaced.
To maintain the proper temperature that is required when completing this type of restoration work, more than 176,000 pounds of steel hoarding around the dome portion of the Legislative Building was erected. The wrapping protected employees, visitors, and the exterior site throughout the harsh winter and was key to finishing the project on schedule.
The Legislative building’s dome suffered extensive damage in its century-plus existence, due to water leaks, ice damming, and drastic changes in temperature. Restoration of the dome was needed to preserve the building and ensure its structural safety.
“In all, 28,000 pounds of copper was used to wrap the dome, fastening to 57,000 pounds of wood backing. New stone (22,000 pounds) was carved and fit alongside thousands of existing stones, and their horizontal surfaces are protected from the brutal freeze/thaw cycles they will endure over the next century by 28,000 pounds of lead flashing. All of those materials were expertly designed and painstakingly fashioned to fit together and work as one,” said Sean Hamelin, district manager.
The gleam will last for approximately one year, then begin to dull as oxidization occurs.