Grand Théâtre de Québec

Québec, Canada

Grand Théâtre de Québec ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Grand Théâtre de Québec ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Aerial view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Aerial view ©2020 Stephane Groleau

Grand Théâtre de Québec’s restoration project has just been awarded four prestigious awards of excellence. Two have been presented by the Ordre des architects du Québec – the jury’s highest honors and the public’s choice. SAB Magazine has also recognized the project with the Green Building Award as well as the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, for its innovative prowess.

Night view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Night view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial view ©2020 Stephane Groleau

Prized for its brutalist architecture, the Grand Théâtre de Québec is a cultural icon. Lemay and Atelier 21 were tasked with restoring and protecting the building’s crumbling outer shell and its emblematic Bonet mural, inside.

Night view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Night view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Project entrance ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Project entrance ©2020 Stephane Groleau

The new envelope is a delicate response to a complex problem. In developing corrective measures for the building’s many weaknesses, the transdisciplinary team produced a sustainable, innovative solution: adding a transparent, glass curtain wall to the concrete structure.

Curtain wall close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Curtain wall close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Curtain wall close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Curtain wall close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau

The glass casing was carefully designed in continuity with the structure developed by Victor Prus, the original architect, and the mural work of Jordi Bonet, enshrined by Prus’ protective outer shell. Discrete and almost immaterial at times, it reflects its surroundings and becomes the main interface with the city, adding an additional theatrical act in the discovery of this significant Quebecois work.

Project elevation ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Project elevation ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Night view façade ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Night view façade ©2020 Stephane Groleau

As designed, the thin wall of protective glass shields the Grand Théâtre from the elements by creating a secondary, tempered envelope housing a low-flow heat recovery and thermal mass system. The system is both energy-efficient and economical. Beyond its primary function, the new layer acts as an extension of the original building it protects, using the same finely tuned structural logic and composition.

Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Elevation Levels ©2020 Stephane Groleau

Any alteration to the architecture had to be severely limited, says Eric Pelletier, architect and design principal at Lemay. The building’s fragility paired with the inability to directly access the concrete anchors posed a major challenge – with work on the building proceeding during normal daytime and evening theatre operations.

Partial Perspective ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial Perspective ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Partial close-up ©2020 Stephane Groleau

“Similar to a play having been written 50 years ago, we had to revitalize le Grand Theatre using a new script that would resonate with a new generation, all while respecting and embracing Prus’ original work.”

Eric Pelletier, architect, design principal at Lemay

Night view of entrance ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Night view of entrance ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Street view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Street view ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Grand Théâtre de Québec ©2020 Stephane Groleau
Grand Théâtre de Québec ©2020 Stephane Groleau

Project drawings

Design approach ©2020 Lemay
Design approach ©2020 Lemay
Construction details ©2020 Lemay
Construction details ©2020 Lemay
Composition of the glass casing ©2020 Lemay
Composition of the glass casing ©2020 Lemay
Construction details ©2020 Lemay
Construction details ©2020 Lemay

Editing and translation: @Ibo, ©️FULLDES authorized publishing, copyright from the Author, Image copyright from the photographer or Company

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