Quebéc’s Parliament Building gets a Modern Refresh

The Parliament Building of Quebéc’s National Assembly legislature was completed in 1886, and its grand Second Empire architecture has been more or less untouched since then. Until now, when Provencher_Roy, in consortium with GLCRM Architectes, has completed a bold intervention for the highly-symmetrical gem that only becomes visible when viewed from the side.

The new façade extends from the central axis, aligning with main entrance and Parliament gardens. Photography by Stéphane Groleau.

A glazed pavilion off the central axis houses 55,000 square feet of multifunctional and commission rooms organized around a spiral ramp nearly 1,000 feet long. “We opted for a sensitive and completely integrated intervention,” co-founder Claude Provencher said in a statement, “by sliding the entire pavilion beneath the existing landscape and using the monumental staircase to establish a new entrance, to the pavilion itself and to the Parliament’s spaces.” That staircase, by the way, had to be dismantled piece by piece before storing and reassembling each part in precisely the same arrangement after construction.

The ramp surrounds an agora, a shape that evokes equality and dialogue with an oculus that offers both natural light and views of the central tower. Photography by Stéphane Groleau.

The heart of the pavilion is the agora at the ramp’s center, a space for gathering and contemplation, while the building’s LEED silver certification—and its careful restoration and use of the existing materials—hopefully means it can remain in use for centuries to come.

A fresco on panels with perforations of varying depth depicts Québec’s historical milestones. Photography by Olivier Blouin.
A tunnel links a display area for Jonathan Villeneuve’s Le Spectre des Lumières to an elevator for the upper floors. Photography by Stéphane Groleau.
Photomurals line the walls of the red classroom antichambre. Photography by Stéphane Groleau.
The hue of the Pedagogical Space is a nod to the National Assembly’s salon bleu, where parliamentary debates are held. Photography by Stéphane Groleau.

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