Bloedel Conservatory roof replacement

Bloedel Conservatory and Dancing Waters fountain

Bloedel Conservatory has a new roof to ensure visitors are comfortable and safe.

This large and complex project replaced all 1,400 acrylic panels of the conservatory's iconic domed roof over seven months in 2014.

Recent developments with this project

New roof installed

August 15, 2014 – With work on the roof replaced and scaffolding removed, this project is complete.

City approves funding to complete the roof replacement

March 11, 2014 – A funding commitment of $1.3-million is approved by the City for phase 2 of the roof replacement. The total cost of replacing the roof is $2.7 million.

Scaffolding installation begins

January 13, 2014 – Scaffolding installation around the conservatory's dome structure began and will take close to one month to complete. The unique structure means that special scaffolding must cover the structure without touching it at any point. It will be wrapped in a protective cover.

Spectrum Skyworks awarded contract

December 17, 2013 – Spectrum Skyworks of Port Coquitlam is awarded the contract to complete phase 1 of replacing  the roof with a project budge of $1.4 million.

Request for proposals issued

October 30, 2013 – The RFP for general contractors was issued, and closed on November 19, 2013.

Roof replacement plans approved

September 2013 – The City's Real Estate and Facilities Management Department approved plans to replace the Bloedel roof.

Consulting engineers appointed

June 2013 – Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd, Consulting Engineers were appointed to recommend materials and methods of construction for the panel replacement. They conducted an energy study of the facility and made recommendations regarding the installation.

Federal government provides funding for phase one of the project

March 2013 – The federal government commits an additional $225,000 to phase one of the project.

City's Capital Plan allocates funds to replace roof

2012 – The City of Vancouver’s 2012-2014 Capital Plan allocated $1 million to the Bloedel Conservatory Roof Replacement Project.

Project documents

Project details

This was a large and unique project as the dome structure has more than 1,400 individual "bubble" panels of 32 different sizes. While the conservatory roof was strong, it was more than 40 years old. Some individual roof panels needed replacing because they were cracked and leaky. 

Replacing the domed roof, entrance roof, and fan and ventilation systems was a multi-phase process between January to August 2014. The project finished seven weeks ahead of schedule.

Bloedel Conservatory scaffolding drawingScaffolding covered the entire dome, as shown in the cross-section diagram. Due to the unique structure, special scaffolding was used to cover – but not touch – the dome. A protective cover wrapped around the scaffolding.

Special care and attention was paid to protect the conservatory’s beautiful birds, exotic plants, and visitors during construction. Protective netting was used inside the dome to ensure no birds escaped and no outside birds entered, and to catch any falling debris.

Background

Constructed through a very generous donation from Prentice Bloedel, the Bloedel Conservatory is a stunning triodetic dome located in Queen Elizabeth Park that opened in 1969. It is designated a heritage building and is jointly operated by the Vancouver Park Board and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association.

The elements for the triodetic dome frame were manufactured in Ottawa and shipped to Queen Elizabeth Park. It took over one year to complete. 

In its first year, the conservatory hosted over 500,000 people.

The conservatory was the first large triodetic dome conservatory in Canada and remains this country’s largest single-structure conservatory.