Construction on track

The “bones” of the new WAG Inuit Art Centre are being put in place right now.

Installation of close to 600 tons of structural steel is underway and the outline of the building is revealing itself.

There are approximately 925 beams that have been put in place so far, with another 900 to go before the new building is completely framed.

The photo here is looking down at the first level, where you can see the main entrance, including the Visible Vault taking shape. You can also see the Learning Steps and Interactive Theatre that connect the first and second floors, to the right of the crane.

IAC project manager Rick Chopp notes that while the techniques used to build the galleries and innovative spaces of the Inuit Art Centre are the same as other construction projects, Michael Maltzan’s unique design requires specific considerations.

For example, the steel, sourced from Canada and the United States, will need to support very large spans of space, such as the expansive 8,000-sq ft main gallery.

As the Inuit Art Centre will connect to the existing WAG, all floors need to match up exactly to the existing levels.

To ensure integration, computer modeling has been and continues to be used extensively in the construction process.

“On other projects, the 3-D tools are typically used for convenience and visualization but on this project they have become a necessity,” Rick notes. “A computer model has been developed using all the design specification. The building itself is an exact copy of the 3-D model and contains everything right down to the 5,382 of nuts and bolts.”

Regularly, the building is evaluated using a laser scanner that matches it to the model. The scanner measures and assesses thousands of construction points, ensuring a match. This is critical at the stage when the steel moves from a model into the actual, permanent fabrication on the steel in the building.

Upgrades continue

Redevelopment continues on the 4th floor of the existing WAG building in preparation for the new education and studio spaces to be housed there when the WAG Inuit Art Centre opens.

You may also have noticed hoarding along the front of the WAG where the main entrance is. Behind there, the Gallery Shop is now being renovated.