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19 Jun 2018

Construction begins on Michael Maltzan Architecture's vast Inuit Art Centre
BY Kim Megson

Drawing on the ephemeral qualities of northern environments, the design of the IAC features 'monumental, sculptural walls evoking geographic features'

Drawing on the ephemeral qualities of northern environments, the design of the IAC features 'monumental, sculptural walls evoking geographic features'
photo: Michael Maltzan Architecture

Ground has broken on a new museum in Winnipeg that will be the largest single gallery space in the world devoted to Inuit art, culture, and history.

Designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, the 400,000sq ft (37,000sq m) Inuit Art Centre (IAC) is an addition to the existing Winnipeg Art Gallery, created by Canadian architect Gustavo Da Roza and opened in 1971. The new additions will be connected to the main building by bridges on all levels, creating unified visitor experience.

Drawing on the ephemeral qualities of northern environments, the design of the four-storey IAC features “monumental, sculptural walls evoke the immense geographic features that form the backgrounds of many Inuit towns and inlets.”

An expansive gallery on the building’s third level will provide 8,500sq ft (790sq m) of open, flexible exhibition space. Skylights in the ceiling will suffuse the gallery with light from the sky, creating an ethereal illumination that focuses the viewer’s experience toward sthe Inuit art in the gallery.

Other facilities will include a conservation facility, art studios, a two-level interactive theatre, classrooms, a reading room, and new café.

The design centrepiece will be a transparent, double-height Inuit Vault, immediately adjacent to a highly-visible public entry, for the display of cultural artefacts. Curved glass walls will extend from floor to ceiling, with shelving following the curvature of the enclosure.

The CAD$65m (US$49, €42m, £37m) project is set to open in 2020. Winnipeg-based Cibinel are acting as associate architects.

With more than 13,000 pieces, including 7,400 sculptures, 4,000 prints, 1,800 drawings and hundreds of artefacts, The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit collection is the largest in the world and represents half of its overall collection.



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