Muttart Conservatory Rehabilitation

Originally opening to the public in 1976, the Muttart Conservatory was a key component in the transformation of Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley into its current status as a revitalized parkland oasis. Designed by architect Peter Hemingway and nestled in the neighbourhood of Cloverdale, the building and its signature pyramids achieved the prestigious status of a city landmark long ago.

Developed in an area of the city that historically accommodated a meatpacking plant, lumber mill, brickyard, incinerator, railway line, and even a towering alpine ski jump, the Muttart Conservatory’s four climate-controlled pyramids feature more than 700 species of plants from all over the world.

In July 2019, the Conservatory closed completely for approximately 18 months of significant renovations and upgrades. The facility was identified as a priority for rehabilitation to its architectural, mechanical, and electrical systems as most of the building’s original systems were over 30 years old and required refurbishment or replacement. The Conservatory has two large pyramids of 660 square metres each, two smaller pyramids of 410 square metres each, classrooms, office areas, a gift shop, the Culina Muttart Cafe and a set of six supporting greenhouses.

The purpose of the project was to extend the lifespan of the facility and prevent a failure of equipment that could impact the delicate specimens living within the pyramids and greenhouses. Williams Engineering (WE) provided mechanical, electrical and structural engineering services on the rehabilitation. Plumbing, HVAC and control systems were included in the mechanical design alongside power, lighting, communications, security and access control systems designed by WE’s electrical team. In addition, the structural team completed thorough reviews of the equipment supports and openings.

Work on this multiple-phase project is currently ongoing. The first phase of this rehabilitation project was completed on time for its scheduled re-opening to the public in January 2021, with the next phase anticipated to begin in 2023. As one of Canada’s largest botanical collections, the Muttart Conservatory continues to serve the community with a variety of educational courses for children, adults and families across Alberta.