Embracing modern and post-modern elements, the austere limestone building embodies long-standing interests of Lambert: the refined, classical modernism of her first mentor, Mies van der Rohe; Montréal's old greystone architecture and property divisions; and repair of the urban fabric. The new building resembles an E, with Shaughnessy House serving as the centre bar. Two wings embrace the restored Victorian mansion, the western one containing an auditorium and the eastern one an atrium housing offices and research areas for scholars. The rounded ends of the wings acknowledge the twin bay windows of the mansion as do the CCA's rusticated base, classical detailing, and balanced composition. Modern, standardized aluminum elements form the cornice, which reinterprets the stone cornice of the old house and casts changing shadow patterns over the masonry walls.
The main entrance, in the long, north-facing facade that forms the straight edge of the E, opens into a grand stairhall that leads to the public spaces located on the first floor: exhibition galleries, bookstore, and library. At ground level are curatorial offices, and below are two floors of vaults. Construction materials are local and meticulously handled: notably Trenton limestone from Québec, Canadian maple, and Alcan aluminum. Skylights allow carefully controlled natural light to bathe the interior.
In the spring of 1999 Lambert retired as director of the CCA and was succeeded by the Swiss-born scholar Kurt W. Forster, who had served as founding director of the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles. Nicholas Olsberg, formerly head of collections at CCA, held the position of director from 2001-04, followed by architect, professor and author Mirko Zardini in 2005. Phyllis Lambert continues as chair of the board of trustees and as a member of the acquisitions committee.
Author SUSAN WAGG
Links to Other Sites
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
RAIC is the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada. It provides the national framework for the development and recognition of architectural excellence. Check out information about career opportunities in architecture and the "Professional Interest" section for a multimedia feature about health care architecture.
Canadian Centre for Architecture
The website for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, an international research centre and museum founded by Phyllis Lambert.
The School with John Bland: 1950s
An article about prominent architects associated with the School of Architecture at McGill University.
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects
The website for the award-winning Canadian firm KPMB Architects. Check out their impressive online portfolio which features views of previous projects. Also includes profiles of the firm’s partners.
Canadian Architectural Archives
An online archive featuring profiles of prominent Canadian architects and images of selected works. From the University of Calgary.
Consultations & Roundtables on Women in Architecture in Canada
This 2003 RAIC report discusses key issues facing women in the profession of architecture in Canada. From the Royal Architectural Institute Of Canada.
This website offers a few definitions and drawings to help you better understand some of the technical vocabulary used in architecture. From “Once upon a Roof,” a Virtual Museum of Canada website.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.