A sight for artistic eyes: Beaverbrook Art Gallery

KPMB Architects’ latest 9000-square-foot Harrison McCain Pavilion, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery have reached completion. The pavilion is the final and most public phase in the gallery’s three phase expansion and situated directly across from the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

KPMB Beaverbrook Doublespace

“Designing the Harrison McCain Pavilion for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery presented an important opportunity to provide a greater sense of inclusivity and accessibility into a Fredericton landmark,” says KPMB Founding Partner, Shirley Blumberg. “We hope the new addition will become a catalyst for even more meaningful engagement with the community.”

The structure’s fanned façade allows passer byers to peer into the new public spaces from Queen Street. The building’s interior consists of a multifunctional lobby that includes  a café, support spaces, membership and visitor services, a gift shop, and ticket hosting.

KPMB Beaverbrook Doublespace

The sweeping staircase along the building’s exterior acts as the Beaverbrook’s front porch, creating a community meeting place—a space for connection and gathering.

“We are very excited to welcome the public to view the newest expansion to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery,” says Director and CEO, Tom Smart. “The Harrison McCain Pavilion is breathtaking. This comfortable, spacious addition to our gallery is a contemporary take on the existing architecture in the city.”

Respecting the surrounding heritage district, the Harrison McCain Pavilion responds to the local urban condition through materiality and form. Rendered in precast concrete and glass, the façade’s understated and gentle curve reflects that of Queen Street and the Saint John River with a classical colonnade that recalls the area’s porticos and porches.

The design also accommodates the water level of the Saint John River, which rises dramatically every spring surrounding the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Taking this potential for seasonal flooding into consideration, the project elevates the ground floor well above the floodplain.

The KPMB-designed building increases access to an established collection of Canadian, Indigenous, and international artworks—the collection includes works by Jack Bush, the Group of Seven, Mary Pratt, the 1820s ‘Grandfather Akwiten’ Wolastoqiyik canoe, the oldest complete birchbark canoe in the world, Salvador Dali, among others—for generations to come.