The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion—the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec's fourth building is interconnected yet disparate—is a subtly ambitious, even stealthy, addition to the city. Rather than creating an iconic imposition, it forms new links between the park and the city, and brings coherence to the MNBAQ.
In order to respond to context while clarifying the museum's organization and a adding to its scale, new galleries were stacked in three volumes of decreasing size. The result is a cascade that aims to weave together the city, the park and the museum as an extension of all three simultaneously.
While they step down in section, the gallery boxes step out in plan, framing the existing courtyard of the church cloister and orienting the building towards the park. The park spills into the museum (through skylights and carefully curated windows) and the museum into the park (through the extension of exhibitions to the terraces and the outdoor pop-out staircase).
The stacking creates a Grand Hall, sheltered against a dramatic cantilever. The Grand Hall serves as an interface to the street, an urban plaza for the museum's public functions, and a series of gateways into the galleries, courtyard and auditorium. The cantilevered structure is supported by a hybrid steel truss system and accommodates galleries uninterrupted by columns.
Complementing the quiet reflection of the galleries, a chain of programs along the museum's edge offer a hybrid of activities, art and public promenades. Along the way, orchestrated views from a monumental spiral stair and an exterior pop out stair reconnect the visitor with the park, the city and the rest of the museum.
The new space is connected to existing buildings by a long passageway that creates a surprising mixture of gallery spaces that lead the visitor to the rest of the museum complex.