Architecture and Design
Located in the heart of Edmonton's vibrant downtown Arts District on Treaty 6 territory, the museum design represents the unique aspects of the city and the province.
The design has an engaging sense of place and responds to the architecture and spirit of Edmonton and Alberta. It features a continuous narrative, a dialogue between inside and out, between the city, the building, and nature. The Royal Alberta Museum is bright, warm and welcoming, inviting visitors to come in and discover Alberta in a dynamic new way.
- At 419,000 square feet—twice the size of the former museum—the Royal Alberta Museum is the largest museum in western Canada.
- More than 18,000 m3 of concrete was used to construct the Royal Alberta Museum. That's enough to fill more than seven Olympic sized swimming pools!
- Over 2,500 metric tons of steel reinforcement was cast into the concrete. That's heavier than 500 elephants!
- The reinforced concrete Feature Staircase acts as the focal point of the entrance lobby. Construction workers and designers worked around the clock for 25 weeks to realize the vision of this amazing staircase.
- There are 9,099 plumbing pipes, 6,504 hydronic pipes, and 9,819 ducts, totaling a length of nearly 16 km. That's almost four times the distance between the old museum and the new museum.
- Total supply air in the museum is 142,557 litres per second (302,078 cubic feet per minute). This is equivalent to about 150 residential furnaces. That's a lot of wind!
- Some of the largest ducts are located in the museum's basement. One of the largest is 4.5 metres wide by 1.2 metre high. You could fit an Audi R8 in that—sideways!
- Indiana limestone. This is something we proudly have in common with New York. The limestone that adorns both the interior and exterior was pulled from the same quarry as stones used in the Empire State Building in the United States.
- The interior detailing reinforces that you are in a museum within every space of the building, not just the galleries. Display cases are even located in washroom entries!
The 2011 competition for a design-builder generated high international interest, including submissions from two Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architects. The project was awarded to DIALOG, as part of a design build team with Ledcor and Lundholm Associates, for their design that elevates the experience of both visitors and staff, and incorporates the rich history of the museum's site.
DIALOG is an award-winning design team of architects, engineers, interior designers, and landscape architects. Both DIALOG and Ledcor have offices across North America, but it was fitting that the majority of designers and builders of the new museum were Albertans. Learn more about the building's design from DIALOG's website.
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) were contracted to design both the Human History and Natural History galleries as well as exhibits for the museum's main foyer. RAA is based in New York and has an international reputation for delivering major museum projects. The team that RAA put together for the RAM project has had extensive experience designing Human History and Indigenous Peoples content.
Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership were contracted to design both the Children's Gallery and the Bug Gallery. Kubik did the fabrication work.
We've placed great importance on ensuring the new museum is accessible to all visitors, regardless of ability. This includes several features such as:
- Public elevators between the two publicly accessible floors, and LRT entrance
- Wheelchair ramps leading up to doors
- Wheelchairs available at the Admissions Desk
- Direct access to LRT pedway, with elevator to museum main floor
- Automatic doors
- Accessible washrooms, complete with a lift (sling not provided) and adult changing table
- Close drop-off locations for visitors with mobility considerations
Service dogs are permitted in the museum provided that they wear an identifying vest and the owner carries an identification card. Pets are not permitted in the museum.
We have 16 strollers available at the Admissions Desk.
There are four parking spots for visitors with disabilities located just outside the main doors of the museum on the west side.
Additional nearby accessible parking suitable for visitors with disabilities:
- City Hall Parkade – five accessible stalls
- Library Parkade – 13 accessible stalls
- Canada Place Parkade – six accessible stalls
- Edmonton City Centre West Parkade – 11 accessible stalls
Each of the above parkades has its own pricing rates, and the stalls are not specifically reserved for Royal Alberta Museum visitors.