Richard Meier & Partners Design for the New Royal Alberta Museum

Courtesy of

Richard Meier & Partners have released their final design submission for the new Royal Alberta Museum in Canada.  Considered as one of the four finalists the firm, although not chosen as the winning entry, proposed “a timeless work of architecture that would engage the ongoing discourse of civility and urban place making while establishing a forward-looking museum destination and technologically advanced educational facility. While we are disappointed we won’t be working in Edmont this year, we are continuing to expand or work overseas. We thank the jury for their consideration,” commented design partner-in-charge Bernhard Karpf.

New York, September 15, 2011 – Richard Meier & Partners was one of four architectural firms considered for the new museum in Canada. Although not selected, the firm is proud of its design which meets all the requirements established by the Government of Alberta. Under the Richard Meier & Partners plan, the site was envisioned to become a remarkable museum and authentic cultural center for the residents of Edmonton and its visitors.

Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Designed by Richard Meier & Partners Architects in partnership with Graham Design Builders, Laing O’Rourke, IBI Group, Solomon + Bauer, Arup and , the new Royal Alberta Museum was intended to be a new focal point in the downtown Edmonton area.

Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects

The Museum was conceived as a series of functional bands running east-west with administrative functions to the north, a continuous service spine in the middle, and the large exhibition areas to the south surrounded and enclosed by the unifying atrium and ramps connecting all floors. The upper exhibition floors form an enclosed box with open floors to flexibly accommodate the layout of exhibition spaces while on the lower floors smaller and more articulate “events” such as the Manitou Stone Gallery and the Auditorium/Theatre offered a dialog with the public spaces both inside, the Atrium, and outside – the Plaza, the Park, the Street.

Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects

The image of the Museum was going to be expressive of its functional components. Its lightness and transparency and its white color is in this case fittingly analogous to freshly fallen snow, respecting the fact that Edmonton is, indeed, a winter city. The new building was going to be an open and inviting place for visitors. Its massing responds both to surrounding, large scale structures as well to the more intimate scale of the urban street level. The main plaza to the west of the museum was intended to act as an urban crossroads and the city’s “living room.” The final design submission proposed a space for large community gatherings, such as simulcast hockey games on the projection wall on the museum’s west façade facing the plaza, sponsored film nights, and similar social events.

Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Cite: Minner, Kelly. "Richard Meier & Partners Design for the New Royal Alberta Museum" 30 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Doug C.

    Pay tribute to the Archigod Corbusier. Long after his death he is still inspiring buildings. Be nice to see some of the sculptural playfulness in there though.

  • Corbu’s angry ghost

    pretty sure richard meier thinks he is a re-incarnation of corbusier, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. This dude has produced the same building in a hundred places for 20 years. Up to us to decide if that’s a good thing. His buildings work, but it is nothing beyond formulaic anymore.

  • k’2

    i like how he doesn’t stray away from origins …architecture isn’t art.more like machines meant for people to live in. and this is much more Sustainable than any pretentious to be art building !

  • Jordan

    This building is incredibly unfortunate. For once Alberta and Edmonton had a chance to bring a higher level of design and architecture to the city.

    I grew up going to the RAM, and this building is ruining all of the excitement that was once a part of visiting this place.

    A timeless piece of architecture? Absolutely not – it will be lost amidst the boxes already plaguing that city. Museums should be exciting – and this just simply isn’t.

    Boring, boring, boring.