Hamilton City Hall Renovations

Location: Hamilton, ON

Client: City of Hamilton / Ellis Don

Year of Completion: 2010

Final Construction Cost: $55,230,000

Architect of Record: Garwood-Jones & Hanham Architects (Bob Prince, Project Manager)

Associate Architect: McCallum Sather Architects

The project involved a comprehensive rehabilitation and upgrade of City Hall, an important civic building in Hamilton as well as an architecturally significant example of the “International Style” in Canada originally designed by City architect Stan Roscoe in 1956.

Renovations were undertaken to functionally improve the building while maintaining its heritage characteristics. The site and building were completely restored, with improvements such as replacing the exterior cladding and curtain wall, interior renovations, life safety upgrades, increased barrier-free access, and upgrades to the building’s energy loads with new wall assemblies and mechanical/electrical systems.
Due to the historical and architectural significance of the original building, a primary factor in all decisions was maintaining the building’s civic prominence in the core of downtown Hamilton.

The original white marble cladding was replaced as it had been structurally failing, with new insulation behind to significantly improve the building envelope. The glazing was improved with a thermally-broken curtainwall system and double glazing. The brilliantly coloured Italian glass mosaic spandrel panels were carefully catalogued and restored to the façade.

The central open cantilevered staircase required restoration as well as modification to meet current building and accessibility code requirements for public spaces. Modifications included extending the aluminum railings and replacing the glass guard system to meet increased height requirements. A new board room was created using triple-glazed glass screening. Constructed within the existing historic space, the design retains heritage qualities while meeting new program requirements. Restoration of the Council Chamber included the geodesic dome skylight and supporting details such as the louvers. Glass was replaced with high efficiency units which replicated the existing frosted glass. The wood slats were retained, providing additional acoustic value to the space.

The primary challenge was to implement the key programmatic upgrades while respecting the heritage attributes of the existing 50-year-old building and within an aggressive design and construction schedule. Hamilton City Council approved an Integrated Team Approach delivery model to undertake the project. The ITA concept incorporated the design team, builder and operator as one entity and also included risk/cost sharing opportunities between the City and the consortium known as ABE. It proved successful and the project was delivered on budget and ahead of schedule with a completion date of May 2010.

Project Location