Established in 1959 at the behest of patron Lord Beaverbrook, who financed the construction and donated his rich collection of artwork to the community, over the years Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has become an epicentre of cultural promotion on a supra-local level, increasingly integrating its artistic heritage with modern and contemporary pieces by artists from Canada and around the world. Since the 1980s, the complex has undergone several extensions aimed at increasing its attractiveness, with new floors to accommodate public services, a wing dedicated to the exhibition of international works and a sculpture garden. The latest extension, the Harrison McCain Pavilion designed by the Canadian firm KPMB Architects, marks another chapter in the history of this place with a bivalent functionality: on the one hand, a cultured and recognisable "institutional" monument, on the other, an "urban living room" in which the community converges and recognises itself.
This dual soul is also represented by the architectural choices. If, on the one hand, the delicate concavity of the main façade seems to embrace the city and warmly invite people to enter, on the other hand, the minimalist portico of prefabricated concrete and glass and the positioning of the building on a basement – also for functional reasons given the flood risk in the area – recall the courtly composure of a classical temple dedicated to Culture, here reinterpreted in a contemporary key.
Outside, the wide staircase leads to the entrance, where the full-height windows create a perceptive continuity between inside and outside; inside, the multifunctional atrium with the ticket office, café, souvenir shop and space for temporary exhibitions introduces the successive rooms of the collection and serves as a meeting and gathering place for the community.
- Harrison McCain Pavilion at Beaverbrook Art Gallery
- Architectural project:
- KPMB Architects
- Beaverbrook Art Gallery
- KPMB team :
- Shirley Blumberg (partner), Matthew Wilson (senior associate), Francesco Valente-Gorjup (associate), Jinsu Park, Jonathan Santaguida, Lukas Bergmark, Ramin Yamin, Gerald DesRochers
- Eastern Designers and Company Ltd. (structural engineers), Crandall (mechanical engineers), RSEI Consultants Ltd. (electrical engineers), DotDash (lighting consultant), Entro (signage consultant), JMV Consulting (building science consultant), Aercoustics (acoustical consultant)