Rem Koolhaas’s OMA and Provencher Roy & Associs win international competition for Muse national des beaux-arts du Qubec expansion

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec has announced that the winner of the international architecture competition for its new pavilion is OMA (Office for Metropolitain Architecture), based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in partnership with the Quebec team Provencher Roy & Associés, architectes. The jury’s unanimous selection of OMA’s design brought to a close a hotly contested international competition that drew interest from more than 100 firms from around the world.


Chaired by Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Montreal’s Nature Museums, the international competition jury convened in Quebec City on February 25 and 26 for presentations by representatives of the five finalist firms and to examine the proposals. Each finalist team had been asked to develop a functional solution for the project in line with the program of needs and the technical constraints of the pavilion site. Among other things, the developed proposals were required to demonstrate the sustainable development approach of the design and to ensure the feasibility of the concept within the construction budget. More specifically, the jury’s decision was guided by the following criteria:


* urban integration: impact on the heritage site (church and presbytery) and on Grande Allée

* consistency with the concept submitted in fall 2009 (Stage 1)

* quality of the functional design and its contribution to the museum as a whole

* organizational clarity of visitor access, circulation and proposed tours of the museum complex

* quality and evocative potential of indoor spaces created by the architectural concept

* soundness of the architectural treatment with respect to desired LEED certification

* technical feasibility and consistency with the construction budget

* quality of the multidisciplinary team


In addition to Brunelle, the jury was comprised of two architects from abroad (Nasrine Seraji, architect and urban planner, Atelier Seraji Architectes et associés, and Director, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris Malaquais, and Xaveer De Geyter, senior architect, XDGA Architecten, Brussels), one Quebec architect (André Bourassa, architect and President, Ordre des architectes du Québec), one academic community representative (Jacques White, architect, École d’architecture, Université Laval) and two representatives of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Esther Trépanier, Director, MNBAQ, and John R. Porter, President, Fondation du MNBAQ and expansion project curator).


The jury was unanimous in selecting the design proposed by the consortium OMA, Rem Koolhaas/Provencher Roy & Associés, architectes. The Board of Directors of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec unanimously approved the jury’s recommendation at a special meeting held March 3, 2010.


Beyond confirming compliance with the program of needs and the budget, the jury noted the winning firm’s extensive experience, the quality of its presentation, the originality of the proposed solutions, the power of the developed concept and the team’s technical strength. The designers had met the requirements related to nature, art and the city, skillfully taking into account the natural setting of the park, the building’s opening onto its environment and the urban character of Grande Allée. The jury also praised the fact that the concept can be evolved and enhanced if later desired by the firm and the Musée. The proposed pavilion demonstrates concern for sustainable development and clear respect for the adjacent buildings while making a strong statement in terms of its typology. The architecture lends itself to multiple readings and presents a harmonious elevation with generous museum surfaces.


Founded in 1975, the architectural firm OMA is currently operated by six partners. Headquartered in Rotterdam, it also has offices in New York and Beijing and undertakes projects around the globe. OMA employs 275 people of more than 35 different nationalities, with architects, industrial designers and graphic artists working in close cooperation. OMA is recognized for the diversity of its accomplishments and the versatility of its solutions.


Notable among the many projects delivered by the firm are the Seoul National University Museum of Art, South Korea, the Casa da Música, Porto, Portugal, the Hermitage Museum modernization project, St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Seattle Central Library, United States.


In December 2007, the governments of Canada and Quebec announced a joint contribution of $67.4 million for this project. The federal contribution, capped at 50% of admissible costs to a maximum of $33.7 million, is provided through the Building Canada Fund, Major Projects Component. This funding is conditional upon the signing of a contribution agreement with the Government of Quebec, which will provide $33.7 million from the Québec Infrastructures Plan through the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine. Financing for the project is to be completed by a $90-million private fundraising campaign conducted by the Fondation du Musée.


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