Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
National Museum of Fine Arts – Expansion Proposal in Quebec City, Canada by OMA Architect
July 29th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OMA Architect
The MNBAQ and its new pavilion are enveloped in a context of historical heritage. Listed buildings in a historical park populated by centenary trees constitute a straightjacket of inhibiting concerns. The complexity of the context- the urban requirements, the respect for heritage, the significance of the surroundings, the dispersal of the various museum buildings, the heterogeneity of the historical buildings constitutes a series of paradoxes that we had to deal with.
Our proposal for the new pavilion has been an exploration of these paradoxes. The latter appears as a simple open exhibition building whose defining feature is that it dives under the George VI street to connect with the with the Charles-Baillargé and Gérard-Morisset pavilions. The blatant gesture creates a natural continuity from Grande-Allée to the existing museum and intuitively brings visitors underneath the park to the museum beyond. Like a canadian cousin of the tilted tower in Pisa, the new building is familiar to the two existing pavilions in size and volume, but surprising in its submersion to connect to its distant siblings.
The new museum pavilion preserves the perimeter of the former convent, conserving the historical courtyard, while visually opening it up to the surrounding city and landscape. The lifted volume towards Grande-Allée creates an abstract pendant to the church tower, while revealing an inviting public space beneath the galleries. On the other end, the submerged volume minimizes its presence towards the federal territory and the historical context. The submerged volumes open the courtyard towards the park, revealing the church tower from the Parc des Champs-de-Bataille.
The tilted volume encloses the courtyard while opening up to the park. The tilt creates a visual continuity underneath the George VI street. The simple form and choice of materials reflect the Quebecois sensibility, while the gesture of diving under the street transforms the simple stack of galleries into an abstract sculpture. An architecture so well integrated that it stands out.
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