Location of the New Museum
The new museum is under construction at 103A Avenue, between 97 Street and 99 Street, beside the CN Building and across from the Law Courts. It will become a vibrant part of the downtown arts district. It is housed on the grounds of a former Canada Post distribution centre. In tribute to the post office, the stunning Ernestine Tahedl mosaic murals, commissioned by the federal government in 1966 for the post office, will be featured on the façade of the Royal Alberta Museum building in their original location. Also, unique terrazzo flooring and Tyndall limestone panels were reclaimed from the post office and will be revived in the courtyard of the museum's outdoor café.
The 2011 competition for a design-builder generated high international interest, including submissions from two Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architects. In the end, the project was awarded to a local team, Ledcor Design Build (Alberta), which comprises the builder, Ledcor, and the architectural firm, DIALOG.
The overarching design concept is an interwoven narrative between nature and man. It is a dialogue between indoors and outdoors, between the city, the building and nature. There is a dynamic weaving of interior and exterior places. Nature is brought into the building through the gardens and the building extends out into the landscape. It looks upward to the sky and out to the city beyond. It has an authentic Alberta "feel" and speaks to the aspirations of the museum.
Engaging Sense of Place
The building invites visitors in, leading them intuitively through the main lobby and beyond, where gallery destinations are revealed. Each gallery experience begins and ends at a grand central lobby that serves as the building's hub.
Telling the Alberta Story
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) have been contracted to design both the Human History and Natural History suite of galleries and also the exhibits for the museum's main foyer. RAA is based in New York and has an international reputation for delivering major museum projects. The team that RAA put together for the RAM project has had extensive experience designing Human History and First Peoples content.
Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership have been contracted to design both the Children's Gallery and the Bug Gallery. Kubik will do the fabrication work.