Metal Construction News article: Rheinzink

Renovating a Historic Cathedral

Marcy Marro, Editor, Posted 07/03/2017

RHEINZINK protects and preserves heritage of 120-year-old church

Renovating a Historic Church

Built in 1894, Christ Church Cathedral was the first church in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Over the past  22 years, the church underwent a major four-phase renovation, which concluded with the total replacement of its roof. The church’s original roof was cedar shake, and over the years, various additions and modifications were undertaken, but none contributed significantly to the historic structure’s long-term sustainability.

In 1995, a formal master plan was undertaken to make the cathedral structurally sound and to meet seismic stabilization requirements. As part of the multiphase plan, the church underwent aesthetic and acoustical upgrades, in addition to basic functional improvements. “The purpose of the most recent and final phase of the restoration was to replace the roof for critical weather protection, thermal and acoustic upgrades, while completing the seismic diaphragm, accepting the parameters of working on a designated Heritage building and the need to work closely with the City of Vancouver Heritage Planners under the purview of the Vancouver Heritage Commission,” says Ron Clay, MRAIC, associate at Vancouver-based Proscenium Architecture & Interiors.

Renovating a Historic ChurchA Modern Marvel

The project’s final stage of replacing the roof became a modern marvel in Vancouver, as the entire building was completely enclosed in a massive scaffold with a giant tarpaulin covering. This was to protect the church from weather as the existing roof was removed. To allow use for a traveling gantry crane, which moved materials to all areas of the roof, the scaffolding reached 100 feet high.

Workers had to be in full HazMat gear to remove the existing roof, since the artificial slate material was bonded with asbestos. Additionally, the felt layers contained asbestos and the plywood layers underneath were contaminated by lead dust.

Before the new zinc roof could be installed by Vancouver-based TEK Roofing, it was necessary to get a level and true substrate, as the structure had settled and shifted considerably in the years since it was originally built. Additionally, construction methods were different a century ago. “We were surprised at how bad the structure was when we opened the building up,” says Ian Birtwell, a parishioner and volunteer project manager who functioned as liaison with the church. “The connections to walls were very poor-basically gravity connections. That’s the way they built in those days. And the roof ridgeline dipped 6 inches. We used a laser system to create a computerized 3-D model that revealed the high spots and low spots so that we could get a totally flat roof.”

Clay notes that much consideration, review and debate went into the retrofit roof construction assembly, to produce a system that was both economical and effective at achieving the current ideals for envelope, thermal and acoustic performance.

Pacific Building Envelope Maintenance Ltd. (PBEM), Delta, British Columbia, also helped in leveling the structure. “PBEM did a lot of the framing working under the supervision of our superintendent,” says Terry Kellogg, president, TEK Roofing. “PBEM was very instrumental in getting us a level roof. It was a tough, tough job. They added a huge amount of structural steel. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Renovating a Historic ChurchDurable and Maintenance Free

Woburn, Mass.-based RHEINZINK America Inc. supplied approximately 12,000 square feet of its prePATINA blue-gray RHEINZINK material for the roof, which was installed in a traditional batten seam profile.

Hugh Cochlin, Architect AIBC, AAA, MRAIC, LEED AP, principal at Proscenium, says good Heritage practice requires the renovation be respectful of original materials. “Slate was initially suggested by several interested parties but its weight was problematic for the seismic upgrade,” he explains. “We gravitated to zinc pretty early in the process. We wanted a durable material that would last forever. We expect to get 100 years or more from the RHEINZINK. Plus it looks contemporary but is respectful of good Heritage practice. The Heritage Commission quickly approved our use of it.”

RHEINZINK’s traditional prePATINA blue-grey color was another reason for selecting the zinc, along with its ability to repel moss. “Zinc was a natural choice for a Heritage cathedral as its appearance will patina over time to register the prevailing conditions,” Clay says.

“Everyone likes the way the blue-grey RHEINZINK complements the natural stone on the building,” Cochlin adds.

Renovating a Historic ChurchOld-School Practices

Cochlin says all details were drawn by hand. “That’s definitely old school, but particularly appropriate for a Heritage project. We worked closely with TEK Roofing and had many on-site meetings. There was definitely more collaboration with the installer than is the norm today.”

“Due consideration was given to each integral component of the refurbishment/reconstruction details, which is clearly and concisely represented in the hand drawings,” Clay adds. “Of primary concern to the design team was the subtleties, accuracy, consistency and integrity of the hand drawings could  have been compromised if translated to CAD.”

“The RHEINZINK panels are literally all hand formed,” Kellogg says, adding that he’s an old-school guy and everything the company does is traditional. “No machines were involved other than our breaks. The traditional method is just more exact in terms of the details because you are fabricating every single piece.”

The detailing was complex with multiple interfacing, and complicated transitions. “There was no caulking, no screws-all traditional methods,” Kellogg says. “There were lots of pitch changes and elevation changes that made the installation timeintensive. It was definitely a labor of love.”

Additionally, the drainage system used the traditional 6-inch RHEINZINK half-round gutters with RHEINZINK hangers, outlets and expansion joints. Five-inch gutters were used on several small dormers. “It’s a beautiful system and complements the scale of the roof,” Kellogg adds.

To complete the project, TEK crew ranged from 10 to 20 individuals, depending on what needed to be done. Kellogg worked alongside his crew for much of the job, spending nearly two months on the tools. “It was quite enjoyable,” he says.

Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
General contractor: Scott Construction Group, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada,
Architect: Proscenium Architecture & Interiors, Vancouver,
Framing/building envelope maintenance: Pacific  Building Envelope Maintenance Ltd. (PBEM), Delta, British Columbia,
Distributor: Alesther Metals, Burnaby,
Installer: TEK Roofing, Vancouver,
Metal roof panels/gutters: RHEINZINK America Inc.,  Woburn, Mass.,

Pipe Shop Completed

We are excited to present our freshly completed renovation of the Pipe Shop Venue at the Shipyards, in North Vancouver. Accessible washrooms, a servery, a projector surface, and fresh paint were added to the 1940’s Pipefitter’s Building – a 9,050 square foot community hall at the base of Lonsdale Avenue. Check out the full project description in our WORK section!



Photography by Sam Pat.



Energia Prize: Letter of Congratulations

Following the Energia Prize we received last May, we’ve received a congratulation letter from the Minister of “Développement Durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatique” of the province of Quebec. We thought we’d share the letter:



 I would like to address my most sincere congratulations on winning the “AQME Prize” during the 2017 Energia Contest organized by l’Association québécoise pour la maitrise de l’énergie (Quebec Association of Energy Efficiency). This prize crowns the efforts you demonstrated in implementing exemplary energy efficient and greenhouse gas emission-reducing practices.

You have understood: relying on energy efficiency and renewable energy is a winning choice! Thanks to its integrated concept, the Mountain Equipment Co-op Head Office in Vancouver is now a model for energy efficiency and sustainability. I congratulate you!

 With this project, you are working in the direction of Quebec’s objectives in matters of sustainable development and the fight against climate change, one of the largest issues of our century. Society needs now, more than ever, companies and organisations who, like you and your client, choose to be leaders in reducing their ecological footprint.

 I encourage you to continue innovating and expressing your creativity by implementing environmentally friendly practices in the development of all your projects. Every effort counts! The sum of all our actions will allow us to build a more carbon-responsible economy. In other words, let us work together and offer our children a better quality of life.

 Please gentlemen, have my most sincere salutations.


David Heurtel


Congratulations to the whole MEC Head Office team!

The Jericho Tennis Club Pool & Deck Project is complete!


Please see the “Work” page of this site for more photos and details of this project.



The 27th Energia Contest recognizes Pageau Morel!

The 27th Energia Contest recognizes excellence in Quebecois achievements and celebrates local genius in matters of energy efficiency in categories related to building, technological innovations, industrial processes and manufacturing, transportation, integrated design and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Pageau Morel was recognized as the electrical and mechanical engineering firm on the design team of MEC’s Head Office, which was designed using an integrated design process involving all consultants from the beginning of the design process. The goal was to achieve the highest degree of energy efficiency possible and to have the least negative impact on the environment.

Congratulations to all the winners!

“Le concours Énergia reconnait l’excellence des réalisations québécoises et célèbre le génie d’ici en matière d’efficacité énergétique dans des catégories touchant le bâtiment, les innovations technologiques, les procédés industriels ou manufacturiers, le transport, la gestion intégrée et la réduction de l’émission de gaz à effet de serre…

…Le siège social Mountain Equipment Co-op a été réalisé en conception intégrée, c’est-à-dire en réunissant dès le début tous les intervenants du projet. Le but était d’atteindre la meilleure efficacité énergétique possible et d’avoir le moins d’impacts négatifs sur l’environnement.”

Pipe Shop Venue Renovation – North Vancouver

We are thrilled to see the community embrace our recently completed renovation of The Pipe Shop Venue at the Shipyards, in North Vancouver. Since opening on April 8th, The Pipe Shop has hosted weddings, yoga classes, galas, dinners, pop-up markets, night markets, early learning initiatives, photo shoots, and private events.

The Pipe Shop, built in the 1940’s and previously known as the Pipefitter’s Building, was originally used to construct piping systems for the local shipbuilding market until 1991. Today, the facility serves as a community venue, with a large open plan and high ceiling providing plenty of flexibility for a rapidly densifying and evolving neighbourhood.

The renovation provides further opportunities for the public by adding washrooms, a projector surface, a servery, storage, and janitorial facilities. Our interior addition was designed to take up as little space as possible, allowing plenty of open space for events. Space for a future upper floor and additional programming has been provided behind the projector surface.

The hyper-modern addition, set against the old warehouse, brings attention to the history and cultural value of the shipyards through their contrasting materials. The projector screen is set in the center of the facility, reinforcing the one-point vanishing perspective generated by the building’s symmetry. Splashes of red were introduced to raise energy levels, invoke feelings of excitement and intensity, stimulate conversation, create a strong first impression, and evoke feelings of love, warmth, and comfort. Three shades of white and two shades of red paint were used to further accent the geometry within the venue.

All photos by Annette Cheung

Proscenium wins AIBC Special Jury Award for Christ Church Cathedral!

We are honoured to have received The AIBC Special Jury Award for the long term stewardship of a significant heritage resource and seismic upgrading technology for our work on the Restoration and Renewal of the Christ Church Cathedral.

The C.C.C. team included Hugh Cochlin, Matthew Kurnicki, Ron Clay, Ben Nielsen, Sarah Piccinato and Sara Theuerkauf.

We couldn’t have done it without The Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver Parish, The Iredale Group, RJC, and Scott Construction.

Ron Clay and Ben Nielsen

Progress Report: Jericho Tennis Club hot tub

The tiling for both the JTC hot tub and pool are being filled for testing.

Although there is much to be done, one can now envision just how awesome it will be to relax in the tub, jets firing and take in the spectacular mountain view from this beach-front project site.

Seeking Intermediate Interior Designer

We are currently seeking an intermediate level Interior Designer with 3 to 4 years of postgraduate experience. This individual must be confident enough with interior detailing to take on projects, develop a work plan and work well both independently and as part of a team.

Proscenium provides a cooperative and positive work environment and an interesting range of cultural and private sector projects. We offer a competitive level of remuneration, job security and extended benefits for self-motivated team players interested in a long-term relationship with our firm. Proscenium covers professional dues, contributes to on-going education funding and discusses staffing over local craft brews. We snowboard and ski together, golf together, and close our office over the Holidays.

Successful applicants must have skills and experience matching the position available.

  • AutoCAD, MS Office (Revit, Sketch-up, Adobe CS an asset)
  • BC Building code
  • Sustainable Design (LEED / Passive house accreditation an asset)
  • Design and Construction Drawings
  • Construction Contract Administration
  • Interior Detailing
  • RID or completion in the next 2 years
  • Experience with Permit intakes

Work will be completed under the supervision of an architect. If you possess these skills and experience level, please send your resume and sample portfolio highlighting relevant experience, current references and contact information along with a brief letter of introduction outlining your employment expectations and goals. Packages are to be sent by email only to


We apologise in advance if we do not respond to all enquiries.


Canadian Architect article on climate change

“Proscenium Architecture + Interiors designed Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver headquarters to underscore the company’s sustainability agenda, using daylighting and advanced air control systems that allow it to be 70 percent more energy efficient than a conventional office building.” -Canadian Architect Magazine

climate-change-2Photo by Ed White Photographics

The Heat is On