Claire & Marc Bourgie Pavilion
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts project involved the conversion of a church in order to house one of the largest collections of Canadian art in the country.
Af Kirsten Kiser
The organization of the Canadian art collection has been combined with the project’s typology to create a special architectural journey. The new building is connected to the museum complex via a tunnel under Avenue du Musée, as a natural extension of the passage under Sherbrooke Street.
The new tunnel brings the visitor to the level under the Erskine and American church and the first phase of the exhibition, which continues through five superimposed galleries constructed at the back of the church.
This arrangement makes it possible to present the collection in generally chronological order. At each level, the architecture allows more and more natural light to filter in, while on the uppermost level a glassed-in gallery affords a view of the mountain and city, forging a strong link with the environment.
Another aspect of the project was to transform the church into a 444-seat concert hall able to accommodate chamber orchestras as well as cultural and educational events. This particular feature allows the museum to restore the church’s function as a public space.
In addition to making a large collection of stained glass available, the conservation of the church afforded a unique opportunity to create a structure whose great heritage value makes it a legitimate part of the museum’s permanent collection.