Manon Asselin architecte + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes to design Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ new fifth pavilion

In December 2012, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) announced an architectural competition for the design of its new fifth pavilion. After a rigorous two-stage selection process, the jury unanimously entrusted the design of the new wing to the Manon Asselin architecte + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes consortium. Details of the project, maquettes and photos will be unveiled to the public and the media at a special presentation on Montreal Museums Day on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at the MMFA.

“With the consortium of Manon Asselin Architecte and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes, we feel that 1+1 = 3! The young firm TAG’s creative and empathetic ability to respond to the challenges of public spaces is complemented by the meticulous approach and experience of Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes, a combination that will produce a boldly innovative design to carry the architectural history of the MMFA’s complex into the 21st century”, says Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA.

The Museum’s Pavilion of International Art will house not only its collection of international art from the Old Masters to modern works but also and most notably the collection donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hornstein. The new wing, to open in 2017, will affirm yet again the architectural excellence of Montreal, a UNESCO City of Design, and feature as one of the highlights of the city’s 375th anniversary.

Based on a relationship of trust and respect, the consortium of Manon Asselin Architecte and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes has been offering architectural creativity, technical innovation and managerial experience for over 15 years. The team assembled was chosen both for its proficiency in the context of the present project and for the dependable relationship established during earlier projects. Since 1996 its principal members have worked together on over 15 designs for cultural projects including numerous architectural competitions.

Their achievements include the Châteauguay library (2003), the Vieux-Terrebonne theatre (2004) and most recently the Raymond-Lévesque library (2011). The collective architectural corpus of Manon Asselin Architecte and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes has garnered many awards and honourable mentions.

Manon Asselin is co-founder, with her partner Katsuhiro Yamazaki, of a young architectural firm based in Montreal – Atelier TAG. The agency is particularly interested in evocative space, space that generates experiences, and in the potential of the material culture to stimulate the collective imagination. Their work has garnered awards for merit with enviable regularity both nationally and internationally: two medals from the Governor General of Canada (2006), the Prix de Rome from the Canada Council for the Arts (2008), the New York League of Architecture Emerging Voices Award (2012) and a recent nomination for the International Iakov Chernikov Prize in conceptual architecture (2013). Through its participation in architectural competitions since 1997, Atelier TAG has become a major actor in the culture of architecture in Quebec. Manon Asselin also pursues her research and ideas as a professor of architecture at the Faculté de l’aménagement at Université de Montréal.

Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes, founded in Montreal in 1958, has grown to a team of some 80 architects and technicians under the direction of Michel Bourassa, Michel Broz, Jean Martin, Sylvain Morrier and Nicolas Ranger. Over the course of the past 50 years, JLP have been involved in the architectural concepts, construction and restructuring of a diverse and specialized portfolio of buildings, particularly in the fields of education, health, cultural and residential sectors. The recipient of almost 75 awards for excellence, JLP has continually demonstrated a capacity to conceive and complete projects of the utmost quality and has developed an approach that places a high value on the built environment as part of our collective heritage.

The choice of the consortium of Manon Asselin Architecte + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes was made in two stages. In December 2012, the MMFA has launched this architectural competition. During the first step of selection, 20 architectural firms with a Montreal office took part in the competition. The eight-member jury, including five independent architects (Clément Demers, Thomas Fontaine, Jean Claude Marsan, Philippe Poulin and Mario Saïa, who acted as president) and three members of the MMFA (Brian M. Levitt, Chairman of the Board; Nathalie Bondil and Bruce Mc Niven, Chairman of the Buildings, Maintenance and Security Advisory Committee), selected three finalists based on the evaluation of their files, without the presentation of sketches. The main selection criteria evaluated at this first stage were the candidate’s design skills and the experience of his or her team and proven ability to adhere to budgets.

This competition was open to all architects in Quebec in accordance with the regulations governing the Ordre des architectes du Quebec (OAQ) and those established by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.

The new Pavilion of International Art will be built on Bishop Street and linked to the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion by a double bridge spanning the entrance to the alley. It will also feature an entrance for adult and school groups that will help generate activity on Bishop Street. The MMFA’s Fifth Pavilion will be built in conformity with international standards for museum design and conservation.

The Government of Quebec has granted $18.5 million to the MMFA for the construction of this new pavilion of international art to underscore the historic donation of the Hornstein Collection. It is important to remember that the MMFA’s acquisitions fund is entirely private and that a collection such as this could not be purchased or assembled by any institution in Canada today. The MMFA’s plan for financing this project is an unusual one: 85% of the funding will be covered by the private sector, including the value of the Hornsteins’ gift of their collection. The contribution of the Quebec government will help defray the costs of construction, while the additional operating costs of the new pavilion will be met entirely by the private sector, following the exceptional model of funding used for the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art.

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