wHY architecture shared with us their proposal for the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec (MNBAQ) international competition, which was won by OMA. See more images and architect’s description after the break.
Sited in Quebec City, Canada, the new pavilion is to add to the museum’s rich legacy and its campus of 3 buildings; one from each of the last three centuries. In the wHY design, the new building is designed not as a beautiful new wing but an act of architectural acupuncture. It is conceived and carefully inserted into the site as a truly harmonizing place that physically as well as symbolically invigorates everything around it. With a program just over 10,000 sq.m, the builidng blossoms out of the ground with an unfolding form to allow the neighboring park to slip into the heart of the museum.
Visitors to the museum sense immediately that the entire site is the museum. The design emphasizes activities, events, and movement occurring in exterior spaces as much as the interior. With direct connections to Quebec City’s Grande Allèe and a historic public park, the Champs de Bataille, the art experience is not limited to the museum’s gallery walls, people should naturally feel as though they are already in the museum precinct once they set foot into the park.
The new museum pavilion is composed of 2 major components, the Green Allèe plinth which accommodates the museum’s multiple public facilities, and the floating Vessel of Culture which houses the multiple galleries of the museum’s collection. The Green Allèe draws visitors in from many directions as the intersection of accesses and activities while the Vessel of Culture floats above the landscape, elevated as a beacon of Quebec’s cultures, accessible to all.
The wHY design calls for a museum pavilion not designed as another trophy, but as an attempt to unite and harmonize the urban, cultural, and natural experience of the MNBAQ into one inspiring museum experience. With respect and thought to the layers of history with the centuries of the museum’s buildings as well as the layers of memories of the park, the neighboring church, and the city. It is conceived as an all-embracing place, open and accessible to all. It unfolds experiences and reveals all layers of the surroundings, for the clarity of being in the present, and for the potentials of the future.