Courtesy of BerminghamBermingham contributes to the construction of a culture-boosting art gallery in Saskatchewan

By Vanessa Kunderman

Saskatoon has always been a can-do city. In the 70s, when Saskatoon wanted to host the Canada Winter Games, the flat prairie province didn’t even shudder at the thought of building a mountain for skiing.

When the idea for an agrarian-inspired world-class art gallery came across the desks of city council, the Remai Art Gallery was an unquestionable new project.

Saskatoon has always had strong cultural interest; the orchestra, theatre and street festivals are just small blades in this province’s massive crop of culture, and according to www.remai.ca, “74 per cent say Saskatoon’s growing city needs a cultural facility.”

Thanks to the Energy Boom from recent years, Saskatchewan’s population has tipped over the one million mark, with most of the inhabitants flocking to Saskatchewan’s largest city, Saskatoon. The booming population has further increased the province’s lust for the arts, even more so than its colourful history.

Named for Saskatchewan philanthropist, Ellen Remai, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified Gallery is a piece of architectural art, itself. With high-performance, eco-friendliness and sustainability at its core, the gallery has already accumulated architectural awards.

The real task at hand was building the structure.

Bermingham retained designer Matthew Janes of Isherwood and Associates to design a key component to the project: the shoring wall. Despite the vast beauty of the land- scape being the main influence and inspiration for the design of the new gallery, the province’s flat topography poses risks for flooding. The Remai Art Gallery is nestled in along the Saskatoon riverfront and the wall was a necessary component to the gallery’s practicality. As one of the largest shoring walls being constructed in Saskatoon at the time, the project garnered its fair share of attention.

Bermingham was brought on the project to construct the caisson wall which facilitated construction of the foundation for this new art centre. The working area needed to remain dry, creating the need for the watertight structure thanks to the risky landscape. The foundational details that Bermingham saw to fruition are just a small part in the construction of the highly anticipated gallery, but without them the project would never get off on the right foot, let alone stand tall.

The undertaking not only expanded Bermingham’s visibility in Saskatchewan, but it proved they were capable of much more than just identifying as a pile driving and drilling company.

“Everybody out there in the drilling community was there watching us drill. It was really incredible,” said Bermingham’s contracts manager, Andrew Weltz. “It was interesting to see just how many people were captivated by the project – we were quite flattered.”



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