The Royal Saskatchewan Museum needed a space large enough to house its newest resident: Scotty the T-Rex
Scotty is recognized as the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. Standing 4 metres tall and 12 metres in length, it was an impossible task to fit the T-Rex skeleton into the existing single-storey space. The integrated team delivered a solution that functions beyond physically fitting Scotty into the space to create an immersive visitor experience.
The team worked extensively with Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) staff on integrating Scotty with the museum’s circulation patterns and developing new interpretive displays, a podium, and cinematic lighting. Construction work was completed while the museum was open to the public, which presented logistical challenges. Structural engineers collaborated with the RSM design team on positioning Scotty in the space, and supporting the second floor. Challenging existing conditions required careful consideration – an electrical room needed to be moved to fit the Gathering Space and sprinklers were added to meet Code. While addressing the structural requirements, architectural, electrical, mechanical and exhibit priorities needed to be successfully integrated with the decisions made.
The team was challenged with a six month time frame (October 2018 – March 2019) to have design and construction completed in an operating museum. Significant coordination between the consultants, owner, and contractor was necessary to meet the aggressive schedule amidst project complexities.
The final Gathering Space renovation accommodates the T-Rex skeleton, flexible exhibit space, and enhanced visitor circulation. To allow installation of the specimen, the project ventured to cut a hole in the Upper Gallery floor slab, providing the head space required to place Scotty at the Lower Gallery level. The resulting double height exhibition space allows visitors to view Scotty from both gallery levels. Surrounding Scotty is a flexible gathering/gallery space that the museum can creatively re-imagine and utilize as needed.