An opportunity to magnify cultural icon’s role and significance
Montreal’s Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM) is among the top French-language cultural institutions in North America. In 2020, it launched an architectural competition to expand its downtown venue and enhance its user experience.
One of five finalists, Lemay’s proposal opens the theatre to its immediate surroundings. It invites theatregoers to experience the incomparable Quartier des spectacles, to interact with the busy cultural hub. A tribute to the institution’s spirit, the concept maximizes the space chosen to expand.
Throughout the design process, the team sought to create a genuine communication between the theatre and its lively neighbourhood. The concept’s new glazed and open-air spaces overlook Sainte-Catherine Street, inviting people inside and upward. A new entrance and open architectural staircase make a connective gesture across all three floors – drawing theatregoers away from what is generally a crowded, small-capacity foyer.
A new multifunctional space accommodates rehearsals, special events and even indoor public performances visible from the street. Saluting the building’s rich heritage, the design maintains the theatre’s identifying features and modest scale, remaining close to the people. It keeps this limited profile while increasing functionality and space, a challenge that demanded much calculation and thought. The proposal also meets LEED-Gold environmental certification standards.
The result is a high-quality theatre building with a welcoming presence. It invites its own users to become actors in the incomparable excitement of the Quartier des spectacles.