Espace Riopelle: a major pavilion at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec

Espace Riopelle: a major pavilion at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec ;bec


We now know what Espace Riopelle, the new pavilion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, where the most important public collection of works by the famous Quebec painter Jean-Paul Riopelle will be brought together .

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


Widely fenestrated, the pavilion will make a large space for wood and will immerse visitors in an “ascent journey” culminating in a circular space which will house Riopelle's masterpiece The Tribute to Rosa Luxembourg< /em>.

Even if changes can still be made to the project when it goes through the integrated design stage, this fall, the director general of the MNBAQ, Jean-Luc Murray, cannot already contain his excitement.

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


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

The design of the pavilion, whose construction is valued at $45 million, was the subject of an architectural competition that landed proposals from all over the world on the jury's desks.

The firm Les architectes FABG had been selected among the four finalists, a group that included two Danish firms. The choice was difficult, confesses Jean-Luc Murray, especially since the four concepts submitted were very different from each other.

“We really liked how it became like origami, a pavilion with many angles that retains a distinct personality while being in contrast to the other buildings which are already heterogeneous”, points out Mr. Murray.

Resonate with the work

“The proposed project tries to resonate with the work and life of Riopelle by taking up certain elements associated with it, including the love of nature and movement”, explains for his part in a video Éric Gauthier, the main partner of the winning firm.

The latter is also involved in the renovation of the St-Denis Theater, the construction of the new Formula 1 paddocks at the ile Notre-Dame and the modernization of the Verdun Auditorium, among others.

The final sketch of Espace Riopelle will be unveiled in January 2023 t construction should start at the end of the summer with an opening planned for the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026.