Rural Quebec community welcomes a contemporary home for artists-in-residence

Rural Quebec community welcomes a contemporary home for artists-in-residence

A new building from Bourgeois/Lechasseur architectes offers a small town a contemporary facility that pays homage to its rural community roots.
19 Nov 2019 News

The small Quebec town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is known for its longstanding woodcarving tradition. Since the 1990s, the town has hosted an innovative artist-in-residence program, albeit within makeshift facilities. Now, a new building from Bourgeois/Lechasseur architectes offers the town a contemporary new facility that pays homage to its rural community roots. 

Credit: Adrien Williams

Called Centre Est-Nord-Est, the facility has a total area of 951 square meters. Located on the same site as the former makeshift facility, the entrance to the building is off the highway. Clad with delicate wooden slats, once past the entrance, a dramatic double-height volume greets visitors, staff and residents.

Credit: Adrien Williams

At the heart of the project is a meeting point with lounge, exhibition area, community kitchen and dining room. The library zone is reached via a voluptuously curved spiral staircase. Skylights carved out of the sloping ceiling flood the upper level with natural light. 
Combined working and living quarters for residents are located the back of the building. Here, live-in studios feature workspaces with sleeping mezzanines. Expandable, these workspaces are highly flexible and adaptable to individual pursuits be it sculpture, performance art, photography or other. Wood metal and assembly workshops are also located along the corridor. 

Credit: Adrien Williams

With a modest budget of 2.3 million CAD, the interior is clad with locally harvested white cedar, alongside finished of mainly plywood, gypsum and polished concrete. And in a nod to its rural location, the large sloping roof is clad in metal sheet commonly used on traditional barns from the region. 

Credit: Adrien Williams

With its timeless image the vibrant new facility can now easily compete with the most desirable institutions of this type in today’s art world.

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