Winning design revealed for Montreal contemporary art museum expansion

Montreal’s contemporary art museum has unveiled the design for its new home, after selecting the winning proposal from a hard-fought architecture competition.

Quebec studios Saucier+Perrotte Architectes and GLCRM & Associés Architectes unanimously swayed the judges with a vision described as “luminous and relevant”.

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), located in the city’s Quartier des spectacles, is one of Canada’s most important national museums, dedicated exclusively to the promotion of contemporary art.

It has seen attendance increase steadily over the last five years, culminating with a record 600,000 visitors in 2017. Faced with a lack of space to exhibit its collection and struggling to “reassert its leadership role”, the museum’s directors launched the design competition in June last year to kickstart “a new chapter in its history and continue its momentum to embrace its full potential.”

The new design will see close to a 100 per cent increase in gallery spaces and rooms, including three new exhibition rooms and additional educational areas. New open and light-filled spaces will strengthen the connection between the museum, the Quartier des spectacles and the Place des Festivals and integrate the new-look building with the existing architecture.

On the expanded level 2, a large window will showcase the new museum restaurant, a double-height space that will open onto an outdoor terrace. The building’s upper section will be composed of an envelope of folded metal blades, revealing the interior spaces at times, and filtering natural light.

Construction will begin in 2019 and is due to be completed by Q3 2021. In the intervening time, the museum will find a temporary home, and continue to host exhibitions at sites across the city.

"The public's passion for the MAC is undeniable and the importance of contemporary art in our lives fully justifies this transformation project, that is both physical and psychological," said Alexandre Taillefer, chair of MAC’s board of trustees. "This will be a museum we will be proud of on a global scale."

The project’s head architect, Gilles Saucier, added: "The MAC renovation and expansion project will clearly highlight the museum's presence on the Place des Arts site and will vastly enhance its contribution to the cultural prosperity of the Quartier des spectacles.

"Complementing the existing building erected in the 1990s, the new MAC will adopt a resolutely contemporary expression of openness, transparency and a sculptural approach adapted to its unique urban context."

Montreal  Saucier+Perrotte Architectes  GLCRM & Associés Architectes  Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal  Canada  
Montreal’s contemporary art museum has unveiled the design for its new home, after selecting the winning proposal from a hard-fought architecture competition. Quebec studios Saucier+Perrotte Architectes and GLCRM & Associés Architectes unanimously swayed the judges with a vision described as “luminous and relevant”. The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), located in the city’s Quartier des spectacles, is one of Canada’s most important national museums, dedicated exclusively to the promotion
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The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), located in the city’s Quartier des spectacles, is one of Canada’s most important national museums / MAC
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Company profile: SPARCSTUDIO
Sparcstudio offers a bespoke and comprehensive design service with real attention to detail. Logical and inspiring space planning forms the bedrock of all Sparcstudio projects.
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