OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec
OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec
apr 01, 2010

OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec

the musée national des beaux-arts du québec by OMA all images by luxigon




the office for metropolitan architecture (OMA), has won the competition for a major expansion to the musée national des beaux-arts du québec (MNBAQ). the 12,000 square meter new building, a cascade of three overlapping boxes at the juncture of downtown quebec city and the historic battlefields park, will be OMA’s first built project in canada. the design, led by OMA partners shohei shigematsu and rem koolhaas in collaboration with associate jason long, was chosen unanimously from five submissions by internationally renowned architecture offices.


OMA’s expansion of MNBAQ – linked underground with the museum’s three existing buildings – is located on quebec’s main promenade, grande-allée, adjacent to st. dominique church. the design aims to integrate the building with the surrounding park and initiate new links with the city. three stacked galleries of decreasing size – housing contemporary exhibitions (50m x 50m), the permanent contemporary collection (45m x 35m) and design/inuit exhibits (42.5m x 25m) – ascend from the park towards the city, forming a dramatic cantilever towards the grande-allée and a 14m-high grand hall, welcoming the public into the new building.


shohei shigematsu commented: ‘our ambition is to create a dramatic new presence for the city, while maintaining a respectful, even stealthy approach to the museum’s neighbors and the existing museum. the resulting form of cascading gallery boxes enhances the museum experience by creating a clarity in circulation and curation while allowing abundant natural light into the galleries’.


the project will be executed by OMA’s new york office in collaboration with provencher roy + associés architectes, due to be complete in 2015.

OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec

OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec

OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec

OMA: the musée national des beaux arts du québec

  • The board were probably relieved not to have been saddled with the task of funding, building, maintaining and doing PR damage control on yet another Libeskind white elephant.

  • The design does not seem to further the OMA language, but that is what is elegant about this expansion. Looks more like an honest and perhaps innovative response to program and context. Refreshing to see that not all winning schemes are chosen only for its formal, and often meaningless, acrobatics.

  • i love it!!! … is nice the way they unify the old style of the museum with the expansion… a great use of the space… so “simple” and beautiful at the same time…

  • looks great. i have reason to visit quebec city again!

  • This building is not innovative in any way. It follows the trend of his previous work without building on it at all. My first thoughts were ‘thats incredibly arrogant’. But then I thought, why should people have to innovate, formal ‘innovation’ is so noughties anyway. Maybe its braver to just stick with the same. After all, if I buy a pair of Prada shoes, who cares if theyre innovative, theyre still by Prada. So there. Think Im coming round to this pair already…

  • I would be interested to know how the thermal envelope perfoms in a climate as challenging as Quebec City…

    Andrew C

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