Patkau Architects to design Thunder Bay Art Gallery in joint venture with Brook McIlroy

John and Patricia Patkau. Raymond Lum Photography.
John and Patricia Patkau. Raymond Lum Photography.

Following a three-year architect selection process, Patkau Architects, in joint venture with Brook McIlroy Architects, have won a commission to design a new art gallery in Thunder Bay.

The award-winning team beat out 13 architecture firms vying for the commission to design the new gallery, to be located on the waterfront in Tugboat Bay. Federal, provincial and municipal governments have announced a shared $2.2 million for the gallery’s design.

Patkau Architects is a renowned Vancouver studio and one of Canada’s most notable architectural firms. Their buildings have earned national and international accolades, and include such significant landmarks as the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver and the new School of Art at the University of Manitoba, currently under construction in Winnipeg.

In over 30 years of practice, Patkau Architects has insisted on a practice that integrates architectural, urban, social, environmental and cultural concerns. In addition to art galleries, completed projects include libraries, schools, sports facilities, visitors’ centres, community and academic buildings and private residences. In 2010, they won a prestigious international competition to design onsite cottages at Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterwork in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Most recently, they were chosen to design the new Audain Art Museum in Whistler.

Patkau Architects’ work focuses on the intricacies of local cultures, the specificities of places and the material imaginations of construction. The firm plans to integrate the landscape of Thunder Bay into the new art gallery by establishing a culturally and locally sensitive design.

Cal Brook, lead partner from Brook McIlroy on this project.
Cal Brook, lead partner from Brook McIlroy on this project.

Brook McIlroy Architects — an award-winning architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and planning firm with offices in Toronto and Thunder Bay— will oversee the project, led by Cal Brook. Most recently, Cal Brook led the $120 million Prince Arthur’s Landing Thunder Bay waterfront revitalization project which has received 21 awards at the national and international level. 

A strong focus of the firm’s practice involves partnerships with Aboriginal stakeholders across Canada in designing communities that reflect Aboriginal culture and provide enhanced opportunities. As a result, Brook McIlroy is the first design practice in Canada certified under the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’s Progressive Aboriginal Relations program.

Plans for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery are expected to be released in the fall, with completion anticipated for 2019.