The National Gallery is a visual arts museum of international
stature. It houses Canada's collection of historic and
contemporary art within a creative building consisting
of many windows and skylights that cast natural daylight
upon the nation's treasures.
With the United States Embassy less than 900 feet away,
the Gallery is in a high security risk area. Propelled
by the forces of a terrorist bomb, flying glass fragments
were just one of the wicked elements that attributed
to 220 deaths and approximately 4,000 injuries when
terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania in 1998. Both RCMP and Ottawa-Carleton Regional
Police recommended the implementation of a "comprehensive
window protection system" for exposed areas of
In addition to the technical security demands, there
were also concerns about maintaining building aesthetics.
The architect, Moshe Safdie, was concerned about the
visual effects film may have on the transmission of
visible light into the Gallery.
Seven major North American companies were invited to
bid on the project. The contract award was determined
by using international technical standards developed
with the assistance of Barry Weaymouth, an international
safety and security consultant who provides his services
for the Parliamentary Precinct and other buildings.
After rigorous testing and the application of film
samples, 3M-authorized Distributor Convenience Group,
along with Ottawa-based Lindian Enterprises Ltd, were
awarded the contract to install clear 3M Scotchshield
Ultra High Performance Safety & Security window
film on more than 5,000 of the Gallery's window surfaces.
Installation began in May 2000 and was completed in
November of the same year.
By strengthening the window surfaces, Scotchshield
with Ultraflex anchoring will substantially reduce the
effects of flying glass shards in the event of a terrorist
attack on the embassy.
"A building's weak link during an explosive event
or attempted vandalism is typically its glazed surfaces
or windows," says Ron Phelps, Project Supervisor,
3M Window Film Solutions, Specified Construction Markets.
"The unique, tear-resistant, micro-layered structure
of 3M Scotchshield greatly reduces the threat
of serious injury by holding the broken pieces of glass