MONTREAL, April 9, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal had the great pleasure of unveiling today the winning project of the architectural competition launched in June 2017 and presenting the design and preliminary drawings of the new Museum. It was the proposal of Saucier+Perrotte Architectes / GLCRM & Associés Architectes, a consortium of Quebec architects, that captured the top honours. Inspiring, luminous and relevant, this proposal, selected unanimously by the jury, will result in a resolutely contemporary construction that is fully coherent with the Museum’s raison d’être. With this transformation, the MAC embarks, visionary and alive, on a new chapter in its history and continues its momentum to embrace its full potential. Attending the unveiling were Ms. Marie Montpetit, Minister of Culture and Communications, Ms. Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal, Mr. Alexandre Taillefer, Chairman of the MAC Board of Trustees, Mr. John Zeppetelli, MAC Director and Chief Curator, Mr. Marc Blondeau, President and CEO of the Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal, as well as Mr. Gilles Saucier, Architect, Head Designer, Mr. André Perrotte, Architect and Mr. Marc Letellier, Architect.
A Museum that measures up to its ambitions
At the dawn of this transformation, the MAC enters a pivotal stage in its development. Museum attendance has increased steadily over the last five years, culminating with this year’s record of over 600,000 visitors. As the most important national museum dedicated exclusively to the promotion of contemporary art, the MAC in its current condition faces various issues, including a desperate lack of space to exhibit its rich collection.
With this transformation project, the MAC plans to reassert its leadership role and convince an ever-growing public of contemporary art’s importance in affirming and developing our culture, and its great value to our society.
Highlights of the new MAC:
The new Museum’s architectural vision
The proposal by Saucier+Perrotte Architectes / GLCRM & Associés Architectes builds on open and light-filled spaces to strengthen the special connection that joins the MAC to the quadrilateral defined by Place des Arts and to the Quartier des spectacles. In particular, the essential link between the MAC and the Place des Festivals will be maintained with a new transparent, light-filled expansion. On level 2, a large window will showcase the Museum restaurant, a double-height space that will open onto an outdoor terrace.
The museum will enjoy far greater visibility on the lower, Sainte-Catherine Street of the Esplanade, with the angular overhang of the expansion. Under this jutting structure, the museum square will naturally guide visitors to the main entrance, while freeing up the space necessary for holding the festivals.
From an urban planning perspective, several features will link the new MAC to its context. On the ground floor, the Museum will glow with transparency and the hustle and bustle of its public spaces, while on the Place des Arts Esplanade level the architectural proportions and expression will integrate with the existing architecture. Indeed, the upper section will be composed of an envelope of folded metal blades revealing the interior spaces at times, and filtering natural light. The verticality thus expressed will harmonize in a contemporary manner with Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier and Théâtre Maisonneuve.
A new Museum in 2021
On the current timetable, the main project phases are scheduled as follows:
The temporary MAC
The MAC must remain active and on hand throughout the construction period in order to maintain its relationship with the city and community presence. Between the closing and reopening, the MAC will set up headquarters in a permanent location and all the while make its influence throughout the city with multi-site and ephemeral exhibitions.
The programming, while limited, will still bear the hallmarks of excellence and rigour for which the MAC is known. This transition period will come with its share of challenges, but it will also give the MAC an opportunity to explore both new partnerships and new exhibition spaces, and display even greater creativity.
“The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal plays a key role in developing our vibrant communities that celebrate Canada’s diverse heritage and creativity, particularly in Montréal. This homage to one of our greatest Canadian cultural icons will inspire artists, writers and musicians here and around the world. It is through these initiatives and projects like this one that communities across Canada will continue to be among the best places in the world to live, work and appreciate our cultural diversity.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, a leading institution in our city’s cultural life, is beginning a transformational process that will enable it to continue to increase its visibility and influence. We are pleased to contribute to this major project for the benefit of the artistic community, our community, and the city.”
— Marie Montpetit, Minister of Culture and Communications
“The transformation of the Musée d’art contemporain will better integrate with the new urban landscape of the Quartier des spectacles and the Esplanade at Place des Arts. It is a promising project for this sector, for the arts and for Montréal, a true cultural metropolis. With this new architecture, the MAC offers a showcase for contemporary art that is firmly focused on the public and is an excellent news for Montreal.”
—Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal
“The public’s passion for the MAC is undeniable. The importance of contemporary art in our lives fully justifies this transformation project¾a transformation that is both physical and psychological. It is the result of substantial work, and we look forward to discovering the final product together in less than three years. A museum we will be proud of on a global scale.”
—Alexandre Taillefer, Chair of the Board of Trustees, MAC
“Thanks to the MAC’s efforts to boost its offering and revitalize its presence, we now feel a major, renewed interest for contemporary art. With this transformation, we will be able to offer a place worthy of public expectations. Montreal will finally have a jewel that lives up to its ambitions, its reputation and its artistic importance.”
—John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator, MAC
“We have supported the MAC and its transformation project since the very beginning and we congratulate the winners of the architectural competition, who have captured the vision of the MAC’s new management. This daring project confirms the MAC’s positioning as the country’s leading contemporary art museum, and is presence on the site of Place des Arts, Canada’s largest performing arts cultural centre. We acknowledge the financial support of the ministère de la Culture et des Communications for major projects such as the Museum transformation and the Esplanade renovation that enhance the vitality of the Quartier des spectacles and Montréal as a cultural capital.”
—Marc Blondeau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Place des Arts
“The MAC renovation and expansion project will clearly highlight the Museum’s presence on the Place des Arts site and will vastly enhance its contribution to the cultural prosperity of the Quartier des spectacles. Complementing the existing building erected in the 1990s, the new MAC will adopt a resolutely contemporary expression of openness, transparency and a sculptural approach adapted to its unique urban context.”
—Gilles Saucier, Architect, Head Designer
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is a provincially owned corporation funded by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. The museum gratefully acknowledges their support. The MAC and the Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal have partnered with the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) to carry out the MAC transformation project. The MAC also wishes to thank its partners Loto-Québec and Ubisoft Montréal.
About the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Located in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal makes today’s art a vital part of Montréal and Québec life. For more than fifty years, this vibrant museum has brought together local and international artists, their works and an ever growing public. It is also a place of discovery, offering visitors experiences that are continually changing and new, and often unexpected and stirring. The Musée presents temporary exhibitions devoted to outstanding and relevant current artists who provide their own, particular insight into our society, as well as exhibitions of works drawn from the museum’s extensive Permanent Collection. They may feature every form of expression: digital and sound works, installations, paintings, sculptures, ephemeral pieces, and more. In addition to its wide range of educational activities familiarizing the general public with contemporary art, the Musée organizes unique artistic performances and festive events. It is a window onto a myriad of avant-garde expressions that extend the reach of art throughout the city and beyond.
About Place des Arts
The objects of the Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal are to operate a business for the diffusion of the performing arts, to administer the Place des Arts de Montréal and the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay in Joliette, and to establish the artistic programming at the Maison symphonique for organizations other than the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. These activities are to be conducted, more specifically, so as to provide a residence for major arts organizations and improve access to the various types of performing arts, and promote arts and culture in Québec. The Société produces, co-produces, and hosts artistic works originating in Québec or abroad, featuring both emerging artists and international stars, in collaboration with artistic organizations, producers, creators, and the entire cultural community.