Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos . Brière, Gilbert + associés


photos: gracias a Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

The site where the new extension
to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts
du Quebec will be built suggests a unique opportunity to plan the
transformation of a cultural ensemble that has been created by the
addition of different pieces over time. Following this thread, the
question arises: how to add a new building that means something more
than just a solution to a functional problem, and how to conceive an
architectural project that harmonizes the museum,s connection with
the park and the memory of the former monastery buildings?
Initial planning decision is a repositioning of the new building in
relation to the existing pieces. A cubic volumen -not only a urban
landmark, but the ensemble,s new center of gravity- will establish
a visual link with the neogothic church and the other museum buildings,
liberating the courtyard void of the former monastery. An initial
simple geometric volume, with a regular modulation, is intersected
by another polygonal order, creating a spatial complexity out of
strict regularity. Thus, the project represents two complementary
architectural systems in scale and geometry: on one hand, a
straightforward spatial sequence -based on an orthogonal grid- and,
on the other hand, a series of negative geometric voids, that break
into different scales to establish a dialogue with the roofscape of
the church buildings.

In urban terms, a long horizontal socle-building leads from the Grand
Allée, allowing the visitor to walk to the museum alongside the city’s
historic park. Its interior space will conceal most of the museum’s
public-use facilities: entrance area, foyer, reception, hall, shops
and amphitheatre. The main hall creates a spatial and visual connection
to the upper and lower levels, linking the new museum,s entrance to
the Charles Baillairgé Pavillion. The underground floor shelters the
temporary exhibition rooms under the monastery courtyard, as well as
the support areas for exhibitions. The upper levels will be entirely
devoted to the permanent exhibition areas. The museum’s exhibition
concept is based on a sequence of modular rooms of differing sizes,
all interconnected, allowing visitors to explore various alternative
routes. The rooms have different clear heights, always above 6m.
There are different possibilities on how to subdivide the rooms - using
partitions or smaller cubicles - that will be studied in depth
throughout the future development of the project.

The choice of materials and constructive systems responds to the
architectural idea that generates the project: the socle building
uses a simple structural framework and its exterior façade will
preferably provide a translucent skin that connects visually the
ground level to the park. The building is completely covered with
one single material: recycled cast alluminum panels, which will
convey lightness to the volumes that open to the park. Some of the
inclined “cuts” will be actually openings with double glass
surfaces that allow a visual connection from the interior spaces
to the park.

Architecture has the power to evoke - in one place - images of many
other places, whether real, imagined, or dreamed: it is capable of
enveloping, within a single space, all of those spaces that we have
once seen or imagined. The impressions of the cold light on that
first day when we visited the site are blended with the presence
and absence of the former monastery, and also with memories of the
irregular steep roofscape of the old Quebec town. There on the
Battlefield Park, on the edge between city and nature, the new
museum,s entrance pavillion will appear like an abstract
contemporary building in dialog with the past: an architecture
that is both memory and invention, adding a new chapter to an
unfinished text, the history of a museum in permanent growth.

Enrique Sobejano
Fuensanta Nieto

Finalist Competition 2010

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Madrid - Berlin)

In association with:
Brière, Gilbert + associés (Quebec)

Quebec. Canadá
Competition Project
Fuensanta Nieto – Enrique Sobejano
Martin Brière
Émile Gilbert
Patricia Grande
Pedro Guedes
Viet An Nguyen
Sebastian Sasse
Miguel Chillerón
Leed Consultant:
Jean-François Lepage
Mechanical Consultant:
SNC Lavalin - société d’ingénierie - construction
Structure Consultant:
IDI ingenieros
Juan de Dios Hernández – Jesús Rey
Diego Hernandez

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