Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

Location

Wembley, Alberta

Building Type

Cultural

Square footage

29,200

Product Supplied

Structural Fasteners

The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a 10-acre site located between Wembley and Grand Prairie, Alberta. The museum structure pays homage to dinosaurs as the project features a geometrically complex roof, supported by exposed timber beams and struts, designed as a metaphor for the dinosaur bones that populate it.

The museum features extensive gallery spaces, two classrooms, a 64-seat theater, research & collection areas, restaurant, and gift shop on three levels. The high windows, spacious interior and unique timber truss design create a truly unique museum experience.

Early on the architect expressed the need for the use of wood connections representing these “bones” more realistically. It became the main structural challenge of the project, due to the complex geometry and varying angles of the “bones”, with the depth of rectangular beams going up to 1.6m.

The initial thought to answer that challenge was to carve out the node from a single timber piece, but the required sizes and costs associated made it unfeasible. Instead, the structural engineering firm decided to slice up these massive nodes into workable 2D pieces, subsequently laminating them together using plywood to form the final geometry, just as a 3D printer would do. That solutions were finally tested in a shop to analyse strength capacity and failure mechanism

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