The Welcome Project at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Rendering courtesy Hariri Pontarini Architects.

Royal Ontario Museum, The Welcome Project



Thornton Tomasetti is providing structural engineering services for The Welcome Project, the Royal Ontario Museum’s legacy project to transform the visitor experience. The revitalized public promenade harmonizes the streetscape surrounding the original 1914 building, the Daniel Libeskind Crystal and the entrance to Philosopher’s Walk. The design team went through multiple design iterations and value engineering in order to help the client achieve its goals with elegant design while meeting a tight budget.

Updates to the historic Queen’s Park façade and Weston entrance, which had not been in use for more than a decade, include new bronze-and-glass doors, a widened stair and landing in limestone and a new curved access ramp. The structural scope involved modifications to the existing concrete structure inside the atrium space and the addition of key features such as custom steel sections for new exterior light poles and intricate stone connection detailing of the bronze pickets along the length of the ramp.

Structural work for the plaza includes the use of helical pile foundations due to the proximity of existing site services as well as site excavation restrictions. The new plaza consists of a concrete suspended slab with an approximate span of 35 feet, which acts as a back span for the cantilevered stair access slab. The concrete structure provides support for the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace, a unique open-air venue overlooking Philosopher’s Walk, and the Reed Family Plaza with welcoming gardens and seating.

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