The Remai Modern

Unless you know your Canadian Prairie, Saskatoon almost sounds like a joke. And yet is one the fastest growing cities in North America, boasting a striking new contemporary art museum, the Remai Modern, which will definitely put this remote place on the map, in the way that the Guggenheim did for Bilbao.

Saskatoon is the capital of Saskatchewan, a province known for wheat rather than culture, but the new museum, largely funded by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, to the tune of $103 million, is going to change that. The Remai family made their fortune through development and construction, a business that has grown along with this burgeoning city.

The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan by KPMB Architects & Architecture 49 - Außenansicht ©Foto: Adrien Williams

A brand-new temple for art in the Canadian Prairie: the Remai sits
above the South Saskatschewan River, Canada. / Foto: © Adrien Williams

The museum, an impressive steel and glass structure with four horizontal cantilevered volumes in a raised position near the South Saskatchewan river, was designed by Bruce Kuwabara, a partner in the Toronto firm KPMB Architects. KPMB and interior specialists Architecture49’s design have flooded the interior with natural light. There are 11 flexible gallery spaces and a 150-seat theatre with free access to the ground floor, a fireplace that will prove attractive to visitors in the long and cold winter months, a design store and a restaurant.

The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan by KPMB Architects & Architecture 49 - Ansicht 2 ©Foto: Adrien Williams

The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is a public museum of modern art
in Saskatoon, Canada. KPMB Architects and interior designers Architecture 49
flooded the 11 gallery spaces with natural light. / Fotos: © Adrien Williams

This is a typically North American story: the transformation of commercial profit into the promotion of culture, a vision fuelled by a desire to bring world-class art to the people of the prairie.  The museum will house indigenous art as well a representative collection of modern work from around the world.

by Kalliope Rivers

Titelbild: © Adrien Williams