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Migration of the Montreal Biodome

Montréal, Québec

2022 Architizer A+ award

2022 Award of Excellence in Architecture, OAQ

Photo credits : Vincent Brière


Ville de Montréal

Type of use


Year of construction


Work type

Major Existing building refurbishment


35 000 m²


24 M$

Initially conceived as the velodrome for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games by architect Roger Taillibert, the building was transformed into a museum institution in 1992, with the objective of reproducing on a small scale, various natural ecosystems with their typical animals. The Montreal Biodome was born and became one of the most visited museums in the world over the years. After 26 years of success, the Biodome was transformed to offer visitors a new and unprecedented experience.

The beginnings of the transformation in 2018 involved firstly the demolition of the old stands and of the slab above the old entrance, to allow for an appreciation of the grandeur of the original structure, while revealing the vaulted roof and its huge skylights, bathing the entrance in natural light.

Secondly, a new gazebo consisting of a steel structure with a cantilevered interior was built at the centre of all the ecosystems. Two steel walkways (one of which is completely cantilevered) were also integrated into two of the ecosystems, providing new views of the flora and fauna.

Finally, a huge textile wall runs through the entire Biodome. It is based on steel pillar cranes for which the location and deformation constraints imposed by the textile wall exceed the standards of steel construction. The use of a 3D model served to guarantee the precise positioning of the various pillar cranes. Large steel sections and the use of stabilizing cables at the head of the pillar cranes control their potential deformations and any displacements, both during the installation phase and when using or replacing the various sections of the textile wall.

For this project, NCK was contracted to provide complete structural engineering consulting services.