Espace Riopelle: a large pavilion in Quebec’s National Museum of Fine Arts

Now we know what the Espace Riopelle, the new pavilion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec that will house the most important public collection of works by the famous painter Jean-Paul Riopelle, will look like.

• Also read: $2.5 million for Espace Riopelle

• Also read: Espace Riopelle in the MNBAQ: The architectural competition is open

Announcing on Wednesday that the concept designed by Montreal firm Les architectes FABG won the architectural competition, MNBAQ also unveiled a first sketch of the building that will be housed between the Charles-Baillargé and Gérard-Morisset pavilions.

The largely windowed pavilion will provide plenty of space for wood and immerse visitors in an “ascension journey” culminating in a circular space that will house Riopelle’s masterpiece. Homage to Rosa Luxemburg.

Although changes may still be made to the project as it moves through the integrated design phase this fall, MNBAQ Director General Jean-Luc Murray cannot contain his excitement.

“It’s a good start and I think it will be an important building for Quebec. We will see it when we go up the Grande-Allée. It will be an iconic building,” he predicts.


Announced by Prime Minister François Legault in December 2021, the Espace Riopelle project is based on an exceptional $100 million donation of 68 paintings from businessmen and collectors Michael J. Audain and Pierre Lassonde.

The design of the pavilion, estimated to cost $45 million to build, was the subject of an architectural competition that drew proposals from around the world to the jury offices.

Les architectes FABG was selected among the four finalists, a group that included two Danish offices. Jean-Luc Murray admits that the selection was difficult, especially since the four concepts submitted were very different.

“We really liked how it turned out like origami, a multi-angled pavilion that retains a distinct personality while standing out from the other buildings, which are already heterogeneous,” emphasizes Mr. Murray.

resonance with the work

“The proposed project seeks to be in harmony with Riopelle’s work and life by embracing certain elements linked to it, including a love of nature and movement,” explains Éric Gauthier in a video, the main partner the winning company.

It is also involved in the renovation of the St-Denis theatre, the construction of the new Formula 1 paddock on the Île Notre-Dame and the modernization of the Verdun auditorium, among others.

The final sketch of Espace Riopelle will be unveiled in January 2023 and construction is scheduled to start at the end of the summer, to open in late 2025 or early 2026.

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