Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1991

The Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts doubles the exhibition space of the museum and also houses retail and restaurant facilities, administrative offices, and curatorial workshops. A tunnel under Sherbrooke Street connects the new wing to the existing 1912 museum. The design preserves the façade of a 1905 apartment house occupying half of the principal frontage, a row of Victorian houses on one side of the side streets, and existing alleys in the middle of the site. From the entry, visitors can see all the gallery levels, and a ramped staircase visible connects all floors. Diverse galley types reflect the variety of the collection. The gently vaulted ceilings and stone floors of the galleries under Sherbrooke Street suit the archaeological collection. Contemporary galleries are vast, high rooms with flat ceilings, minimalist in detail. The European collection is housed in the most traditionally detailed galleries, in which square skylights provide soft, even light. The tall, vaulted galleries for temporary exhibitions are topped by adjustable, linear skylights. The white marble cladding of the entrance pavilion matches that of the original museum across Sherbrooke Street, while red brick on Bishop Street and colored granites on Cresent Street establish a more domestic scale appropriate to the side streets.

Project Type: Museum

Client: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Cost: C $55 million

Size: 250000


Associate Architect - Desnoyers Mercure/Lemay Leclerc

General Contractor - Herve Pomerleau, Inc.