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From the street you walk in. You pass into the first of a series of interlocking spaces, through the lobby and into the Grand Hall. You see a sculptural grand staircase climbing through the space- temporary exhibition space, second floor. Permanent collection, third floor. A guide tells you that below your feet, is a 300 seat auditorium as well as a tunnel which connects you to the existing museum buildings.

© Allied Works

Existing, because you were just walking through Allied Works’ finalist proposal for the design of an addition to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. The site for this project is one of significant cultural importance, replacing a wing of the Saint-Dominique Monastery and adjacent to the Fields of Abraham as well as fronting the Grand Allée, the major boulevard of Québec City. No sweat, right?

© Allied Works

The building seeks to act as a bridge between old and new, light and dark, architecture and landscape, city and museum. A series of cantilevered concrete and bronze shells structurally interlock and overlap, creating multiple thresholds. Where they overlap, light is reflected to the upper floored galleries through north facing openings. In the summer months, this is muted and indirect; the winter brings light much more luminous as it reflects off the snow. On the Grand Allée, the building’s facade opens to reveal the art within the spaces and the energy embodied within the form.

© Allied Works

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