Since its founding in 1959, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery has been home to an impressive and varied art collection, including works by members of the Group of Seven, Lucian Freud and Salvador Dalí. Over the years, its collection has grown to accommodate nearly 7000 global, multidisciplinary works of art.
Since 1983, the New Brunswick gallery has undergone several expansions: new levels to house public amenities, a wing dedicated to displaying work by international artists, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
In September, the final and most public phase in the gallery’s three-phase expansion was completed — the Harrison McCain Pavilion, an elegant 9000-square-foot pavilion.
“Designing the Harrison McCain Pavilion presented an important opportunity to provide a greater sense of inclusivity and accessibility into a Fredericton landmark,” said founding partner, Shirley Blumberg. “We hope the new addition will become a catalyst for even more meaningful engagement with the community.”
Located directly across from the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, the building takes its cues from the curve in Fredericton’s Queen Street on which the Pavilion fronts, the building’s precast concrete and glass façade features an understated and gentle curve, and a classical colonnade recalls the area’s heritage porticos and porches. It is a welcoming and inviting gesture to visitors and locals alike.
What’s more, the rotated piers that make up the façade reduce heat gain by acting like a brise-soleil and deflecting sunlight.
The design also accommodates the water level of the Saint John River which rises dramatically every spring surrounding the gallery. Taking this seasonal flooding into consideration, the Pavilion elevates the ground floor well above the floodplain to help protect the space in case of a flood.
A sweeping staircase along the building’s exterior acts as the gallery’s front porch — a space where visitors can gather — and floor to ceiling glass windows invite passersby into the gallery’s “living room.”
Inside, the Pavilion serves as an entry into the main gallery building and a multi-function lobby, manifesting the gallery’s mission to bring art and community together. A diverse collection of artworks will be featured in the entry on a rotating basis. Since its opening, sculptures by Maritime artist Cal Lane, stone works by Acadian artist Marie Hélène Allain, and a black limestone piece by Indigenous artist Ned Bear have been chosen by John Leroux, manager of collections and exhibitions at the gallery, to welcome visitors into the “living room.”
The Pavilion also ushers visitors to membership, ticketing and visitor services, and support spaces to cater to their unique needs. A café and gift shop create opportunities for connection, and a fireplace at the east end of the Pavilion infuses the space with warmth.
“The Harrison McCain Pavilion is breathtaking. This comfortable, spacious addition to our gallery is a contemporary take on the existing architecture in the city,” says Director and CEO, Tom Smart.