“The finish line is in sight,” reports Rick Chopp, Inuit Art Centre Construction Project Manager. Rick is in charge of ensuring the stunning Inuit Art Centre design by architect Michael Maltzan will be open for the community on schedule and on budget. He is succeeding at both. “We have seven months to completion of the building. That’s when the Inuit Art Centre will be ready for the WAG team to work their magic installing the new galleries.”
Turning up the heat
“The building is now closed in and protected from the elements. The composition of the outside walls of the Inuit Art Centre have been completed, with the stone to be installed in the spring, the roof is finished and the insulation is almost done. Inside the building, the steel structural support of the three-story visible vault is now complete.”
Those in the construction world in Winnipeg with our long, cold winters, know the biggest news in the progress on the road to completion is that the temporary interior heat is on. As the weather has been milder than usual, the working conditions have been good, and the need for temporary heat has lessened. “We have been weather-tight since December, so even the arrival of this colder weather will not affect our schedule.”
The tradespeople are now working at full capacity inside the building, and the interior work and finishes that will create the welcoming spaces for you and for the Inuit collection has begun. This also means the electricians have been able to start and complete a significant portion of the lighting for the vault and the galleries. Their work will light up the works to reveal the power of their stories.
“Another big stage completed is that the fourth floor of the WAG is completely demolished,” Rick describes the space that used to house the restaurant, and is now the future suite of studios. Art classes, carving spaces, and artists residencies will all take place on the remodelled fourth floor.
Open and accessible
The walls of glass that will allow you to see into the gallery when you pass by, and let gallery visitors connect to the outside, will be finished by the end of January. You’ll get a sneak peek at the WAG’s new transparency in early spring when the hoarding comes down in front of the building where the new Gallery Shop is.
“Inside, the circular staircase in the three-story visible vault is almost complete,” Rick says. This staircase, visible from outside the vault, allows curators to do their work inside the vault to prepare for exhibitions. The staircases connecting the gallery floors are also installed, allowing you to circle the visible vault and the galleries experiencing the power and beauty of the art.
You’ll see the tower crane coming down next week, an outward display of our inner transformation. Although much of what you’ll see from the outside during these cold winter months remains unchanged, the dramatic interior work is transformational. We cannot wait to share it with you!