Press kit no. 696-08

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Press kit - Press release - Architectural competition for the construction of the fifth Pavilion - Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)

Press Kit | no. 696-08

Architectural competition for the construction of the fifth Pavilion

Montreal, Canada

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)

The MMFA launches an architectural competition for the construction of its fifth pavilion that will house the Michal and Renata Hornstein collection among others and will open as part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary

Montreal, Canada, 2012-12-13 -  Last spring, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) announced the outstanding gift of the Michal and Renata Hornstein collection. The Museum plans to build a fifth pavilion that will allow its hundreds of thousands of visitors to admire its collection, including the 75 paintings of the Hornstein donation, free of charge. The new wing will be built thanks to support from the Government of Quebec on the occasion of the celebration of the 375th anniversary of Montreal.

In the presence of the donors and of Maka Kotto, Ministre de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, Brian Levitt, President of the MMFA, and Nathalie Bondil, the director and Chief Curator, invited the architects of Quebec to participate in an architectural competition for the future pavilion of international art.

Minister Kotto stated that “the Government of Quebec is proud to be involved in this splendid project that in the short term will create jobs, and stimulate growth and in the medium and long term, both nationally and internationally will showcase our collective identity as an open-minded and cultured people. The new pavilion of international art will house the works donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hornstein and the collection of the cultures of the world. Furthermore, by launching this prestigious competition, we will contribute to the architectural quality and originality of Montreal, named a UNESCO City of Design. “

It should be noted that the Government of Quebec will contribute financially to the construction of this fifth pavilion, which will display a collection acknowledged by the world’s experts as an incomparable national treasure. It is with this in mind that the sum of $18.5 million has been granted to the MMFA by the government for the construction of this new pavilion of international art.

Nathalie Bondil declared: “I am particularly happy that this should be happening right now, since Mr. and Mrs. Hornstein were recently named
Great Montrealers in the cultural sector by the Chamber of Commerce of Montreal for their total commitment to our city, and especially for this gift of their collection of Old Masters, the largest private contribution in the modern history of the museums of Quebec.”

Michal and Renata Hornstein said that they were deeply touched by this tribute, an honour given to a couple for the first time by the representatives of a city they love so deeply. On receiving this award on November 22, Mr. Hornstein stated that “I have lived in Montreal for sixty years. The city has given me so much, I love Montrealers, I love the Quebec people, who are so warm and welcoming. This donation is a kind of than-you, a way to give back.”

The MMFA’s new international pavilion
The addition of the Hornstein collection to its holdings of Old Masters, considerably enriching them, will allow the Museum not only to exhibit the works of this remarkable donation but also to reaffirm its standing as an encyclopaedic collection. The ongoing story planned by Nathalie Bondil and her team will provide a chronological account of the major periods of the history of art from classical times to modern art.

« The pavilion number 5 will make it possible to display the Museum’s international collections, unique in Quebec and among only a few in Canada., as well as the Old Masters section, that will be greatly enriched by the Hornstein donation”, said Nathalie Bondil. “It will also house the recent donation of the late Ben Weider’s Napoleonic collection as well as the Museum’s works of modern art from Rodin to Picasso that are so popular with our public. At the same time, the rich collections of design and decorative arts and of the cultures of the world to contemporary times will move to new spaces in the other pavilions. The addition of a fifth pavilion will provide more space for works hitherto poorly displayed, despite our recent efforts to give Montreal, Quebec and Canada an institution unequalled in its prestige and scope.. I am delighted that this expansion will coincide with Montreal’s 375th anniversary. In this way the Museum will play an active part in the celebrations of the city’s identity”, she said.

A Quebec-wide architectural competition
The new Michal and Renata Hornstein International Pavilion will be built on Bishop Street south of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion. The estimated gross surface area is of the order of 2,800 m2, 2,410 m2 comprising four above-ground floors mainly devoted to exhibition space and a basement area of 390 m2 for the storage of artworks. The new pavilion will be linked to the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion by a bridge spanning the entrance to the alley; the main visitors’ entrance will be located on Bishop Street, contributing to animate the district. The new pavilion will be built in conformity with international standards for museum design and conservation.

The MMFA is organizing a competition approved by the Quebec Order of Architects (OAQ) to promote high-quality architecture in its precincts and to select a prize-winning project.

In conformity with the rules governing architectural competitions as laid down by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, a call for applications open to all architects in Quebec will be available on the Museum’s Website starting December 6, 2012 ( The MMFA has mandated Michelle Décary as professional advisor to prepare the documents relating to the competition, all in accordance with the
Guide des concours d’architecture produced by the OAQ, and the architectural firm of Provencher Roy +Associés to prepare the construction programme.

The choice of the winner will be made in two steps: first, the MMFA launches a call for applications open to all architects in Quebec with an office in Montreal. The choice of the three finalists will be made by the members of a jury following the evaluation of the proposals received, without submission of drawings. The selection criteria at this stage include the experience of the candidate and of the project team and adherence to budgets. The three finalists will be announced in February 2013.

Then, the three finalists chosen will be asked to complete their submissions of the projects they propose and send them to the jury. The selection criteria for the winner are the following: conceptual approach / expression of the architectural option and its formalization / architectural solution to the main challenges / achievement of the goals of programming and operation / adherence to the construction budget / measures taken to provide the equivalence to natural light. Once the projects have been evaluated, the jury will recommend a winner to the MMFA. The winner will be announced in April 2013.

The jury is composed of members of the MMFA and of independent architects from the Museum, one of whom will be designated chair of the jury.

The funding of the new pavilion
The MMFA’s plan for financing this project is an unusual one: 85% of the funding will be covered by the private sector, including the value of the Hornsteins’ gift of their collection. The contribution of the Quebec government will pay the costs of construction, while the additional operating costs of the new pavilion will be met entirely by the private sector, following the model of funding used for the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art, which has proved itself. It is important to remember that the MMFA’s acquisitions fund is entirely private and that a collection such as this could not be purchased or assembled by any institution in Canada.

About the Montreal Museum of Fine Art
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most popular museums in Canada. Every year some 760,000 visitors are welcomed to view its encyclopaedic collection, unique in Canada, and its innovative exhibitions covering every artistic discipline (fine arts, music, film, fashion, design) enhanced by original and unusual layouts. It conceives, produces and tours many of its exhibitions across Europe and the Americas. It is also one of Canada’s leading publishers of bilingual art books, which are distributed worldwide. Over 100,000 families and school groups take part every year in its educational, cultural and community-oriented programmes. 2011 saw the opening of a fourth pavilion devoted exclusively to Quebec and Canadian art – the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion– and a 444-seat concert hall incorporating an outstanding group of Tiffany windows – the Bourgie Hall. At the same time the Museum’s rich collections have been redeployed in the other three pavilions, housing the World Cultures, Early and Contemporary European Art, Decorative Arts and Design collections. Finally, from now on the Museum is integrating music, in the form of musical strolls through the galleries and other uncommon activities, to introduce visitors to a different way of appreciating the visual arts. In 2012, the new Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière were unveiled to double the space devoted to school groups, families and community groups. A fifth pavilion devoted to the Old Masters and world cultures will open in 2017.

Thomas Bastien
Press Officer
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
514-285-1600, ext. 205

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For more information


Media contact

  • Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
  • Thomas Bastien, press agent
  • 5514-285-1600, poste 205


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