Aiming to bring art and community together, Fredericton’s beloved Beaverbrook Art Gallery has unveiled its new expansion. The dazzling 9,000-square-foot Harrison McCain Pavilion by KPMB Architects completes the gallery’s three-phase expansion across from the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. The elegant façade of precast concrete and glass allows passersby to peek inside at the local works of art and the new public spaces.
The new building’s interiors were designed to encourage gathering, bringing art and community together. The multifunctional lobby contains a café, support spaces, a gift shop, and visitor services. Sunlight permeates the space via large windows, and toward the east end of the pavilion, a fireplace adds warmth to the airy space. The new building houses an extensive collection of Canadian, Indigenous, and international artworks, including those by the Group of Seven, Mary Pratt, and Salvador Dali, as well as an 1820s Grandfather Akwiten Wolastoqiyik canoe, the oldest complete birchbark canoe in the world.
“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.”
Located between Queen Street and the Saint John River, the Harrison McCain Pavilion is a thoughtful response to Fredericton’s architectural heritage and natural beauty, reflecting the curves of the street and the river, its classical colonnade evoking the area’s porticos and porches. The ground floor is raised, with a climate responsive design to accommodate the river’s higher water levels in spring. KPMB Architects wanted the construction to be understated, offering soft details that both intrigue and invite. “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.”