|New expansion for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)|
|Thursday, 12 May 2011 09:23|
A new addition is currently under construction for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) , which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010. Designed by Provencher Roy + Associés Architects, the project also includes the restoration of the 1894 heritage church, which is being converted to a 444-seat concert hall. The new pavilion, opening to the public this fall, increases the MMFA’s total exhibition space by 20%, and will be devoted to Quebec and Canadian art.
The former Erskine and American Church was deconsecrated in 2004 and acquired by the Museum in 2008. Transforming part of the structure to be able to display works was a necessary choice, since it was not possible to adapt it to meet the museological conservation requirements for works of art. The church had already undergone remodeling, including one in 1938, which involved separating the sanctuary from the other community functions at the rear of the church.
A contemporary building, cladded with white marble and large glass openings, gets attached the church. The same white marble has previously been utilized for the Museum’s main pavilion as well as its 1991 expansion. While the careful restoration of the historic building is commendable, the contemporary annex doesn’t seem to relate visually with it. The massing, finishing material and even proportions of the annex look strange vis-à-vis the existing building.
In Montreal, as in other parts of the world, it is hard today to breath a new life in the hundred-plus year old religious buildings, visited by an ever-shrinking number of the aging population. Becoming a part of the nearby museum is still a more dignified vocation change for such an edifice then transforming into a residential condo. While such an investment needs to be feasible, we still we need to ask ourselves this question; would a smaller, more discreet addition have yielded a better integration between the past and present?
|Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:52|