OMA’s Museum in Québec Takes Shape

OMA’s Museum in Québec Takes Shape

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec has announced that it will open its new building, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, on June 24. Here’s a look at how the project is shaping up.

Designed by OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the pavilion will transform the 83-year-old institution into a 14,900-square-metre museum, adding 90 percent more capacity for exhibitions and space for a 250-seat auditorium. The new addition will provide a contemporary gateway to the art institution’s existing complex of buildings.

The MNBAQ houses art from the region, both contemporary and historic, with some artifacts dating back to the 17th century. It is also the premiere showcase of international art in Québec City.


According to Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner and lead on the project: “Our design stacked three gallery volumes in a cascade that continues the topography of the park. The activity of the city extends below, providing a new point of interface between the city and the park. Art becomes a catalyst that allows the visitor to experience all three core assets – park, city, and museum – at the same time.”

Realized in collaboration with Provencher_Roy architectes of Montréal, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion faces the main artery of Québec City’s Grande Allée. Behind the new structure, the three existing pavilions of the museum stand within the historic Parc des Champs-de-Bataille. The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion connects with this complex through a 130-metre-long below-grade passageway while presenting a transparent facade directly on the Grande Allée, where it creates a new public plaza.


Inside, column-free galleries for installations from the permanent collection and temporary displays, an auditorium, a café and a museum store are housed in three volumes of decreasing size, which are stacked so they rise in stepped tiers from the park to the street front on Grand Allée.


A Grand Hall, 12.5 metres high, faces Grande Allée, where the topmost tier’s dramatic cantilever of 26.5 metres shelters an urban plaza. Orchestrated views from a monumental spiral stair and an exterior pop-out stair orient the visitor to the park, the city and the rest of the museum.


Within the volumes, mezzanines and overlooks link the temporary and permanent exhibition spaces. Atop each volume, a roof terrace provides space for outdoor displays and activities.


There will be three exhibitions mounted to inaugurate the new space: a display of decorative arts and design from Quebec; the Brousseau Collection of Inuit art; and From Ferron to BGL: Contemporary Art in Quebec, a show dedicated to 50 Quebec artists whose work has left an indelible mark during the past six decades.

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