The plans for the original building, sketched out by Jacques and Julien Perreault and drawn up by Joliette architect Jean Dubeau, were based on a model designed by Father Corbeil, who loved architecture. Father Corbeil took his inspiration from the work of Le Corbusier and decided on an international style of simple shapes that he described as “architectural abstraction”.
The hosted a double height hall united to a unique exhibition hall, echoing the main space of a church, by a quality vertical promenade. A unfortunate 1990 extension, eliminated the double height hall, distorted the exhibition hall and reduced the vertical visit to a labyrnth of fire exits.
The new 2013 extension will reestablish the quality of the inner spaces and open up to the city. The dematerialization of its facades, its extended entrance pavilion directed to the L’Assomption River and its areas encouraging relaxations are part of this new aesthetic. The redeveloped spaces highlight this commitment by inviting natural light, facilitating access to groups and encouraging creativity in its administrative offices.
The complete transformation and expansion of the original building was necessary to offer of a wide range of programs structured around the promotion of its permanent collection and the presentation of temporary exhibitions, as well as a host of educational and cultural activities for visitors of all ages. The addition of new flexible gallery space, animation rooms for youth, a multipurpose café, conference rooms and a rooftop terrace were necessary to open up the institution to the community and to allow it to play a larger role in the lives of the citizens of Joliette and its surrounding region. The architects added three new volumes to the building, accentuating the dynamism of the existing cruciform composition, allowing passers-by a glimpse of the activity happening within.
Today the Joliette art Museum is recognized as Quebec’s most important regional art museum. It has become an important setting for social activities and gatherings such as classes, creative studios, performances, exhibitions, guided tours, cocktails, and concerts.
The project required a complete code compliance update of the existing spaces including the renovation of the museum archives in the basement, the replacement of all the mechanical and electrical systems, the complete waterproofing the building envelope, the construction of new office spaces and the creation of a entirely universally accessible museum. Also included in the architect’s mandate were the signage design and the selection of all interior and exterior furnishings.