Former Shawinigan aluminum smelter

Client : La Cité de l’Énergie de Shawinigan et Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada Year : 2004 Budget : 6.5 M$ Area : 19 050 square meters

Conversion of an aluminum smelter into a contemporary art centre

Awards and Honours

2005 - Winner of the OAQ's « Choix du Public »

2005 - Finalist, OAQ Award of Excellence, Architectural

2005 - Gold Medal, Outside the Box Awards, magazine National Building

DMA chose a minimalist approach that was in keeping with the industrial character of the buildings. The light that penetrates through the large windows and the presence of gigantic works of art at the scale of the spaces complete the intervention and reinforce the spirit of the place.

The Contemporary Art Centre in Shawinigan began as a result of an opportunity that presented itself to the National Gallery of Canada, to transform the large industrial buildings no longer used by Alcan, for the display of its collection of very large sculptures.
To allow for this transformation, DMA developed a strategy to upgrade the spaces, where the existing structures were modified without a major intervention while respecting the statement of heritage value and ensuring a secure and suitable environment for the conservation of the works of art.
Constructed of corrugated aluminum siding, the new walls that separate the public and technical support spaces, recall the site’s industrial past and are the only indication of the architectural intervention. These walls are witnessed not only to the continuity of the history of the site but also its renewal.
The light that passes through the large windows and the presence of the extra-large format works of art complete the transformation of the spaces and reinforce its spectacular character. This minimalist yet rigorous approach earned the project the gold medal in Building magazine's "Creative re-use and restoration" competition.
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