Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The design of a major expansion to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts undertaken by Safdie, doubled the exhibition space of the existing museum. New facilities were incorporated such as housing retail, a restaurant, administrative offices, and curatorial workshops. The design challenges for this project included the need to integrate the new museum into the surrounding context, while responding creatively to the demands of a difficult site.

The final design preserved the five-storey brick and stone New Sherbrooke Apartment Building built in 1905, which occupied half of the Sherbrooke Street frontage, a series of Victorian rowhouses on Crescent Street, and the alleys located at the centre of the site. The addition is divided into three pavilions. Its main entrance features a great sloping glass roof which allows the sun to penetrate into the public foyer and provides transparency for visitors to see all gallery levels and connections. The Jean-Noel Desmarais Pavilion is linked by underground galleries housing the archeological collections to the original Beaux-Arts structure across on the north side of the street. The entry pavilion is built of the same Vermont white marble as is the original museum. On Crescent Street, the side of this pavilion is divided into five separate shades of granite that have the same average width of the Victorian rowhouses across the street.