The Grand Théâtre de Québec is the winner of four different awards that honor green building, architecture and excellence in design. It only takes one look at the stunning theater to see why it’s the target of such acclaim. This difficult renovation project shows how the old and the new can come together to create something even better than the original.

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concrete building with glass facade

The Grand Théâtre de Québec is an important cultural landmark. That’s why restoring the building was such an important undertaking, one that Canadian firms Lemay and Atelier 21 took very seriously. They wanted to preserve but update the existing building.

Related: Green-roofed theater in Shenzhen raises the bar for civic architecture

glass building lit from within
path leading to glass building lit up by flood lights

There were several problems to address for this renovation project. The concrete structure of the building had many weak points. In response, the architects added a glass curtain wall, which serves as a protective envelope around the existing structure. This also protects the low-flow heat recovery thermal mass systems for an energy-efficient and financially sensible addition to the design.

Grand Theatre de Quebec surrounded by glass curtain walls
aerial view of patios surrounding glass building

This casing was designed to be continuous with the original structure, which was designed by architect Victor Purs. The existing murals were another big concern for the project. The design was carefully planned to keep these beautiful murals intact, so they remain the way they looked when artist Jordi Bonet first painted them.

person walking along path next to glass building at dusk
flood lights shining on glass building

The fragile building’s concrete anchors could not be directly accessed, making the project even more difficult. And as if there weren’t enough construction challenges, the work had to happen while the theater remained open and operated normally.

aerial view of concrete and glass theater buildin

The result of the project speaks for itself. The dazzling outer wall creates a stunning look that immediately catches the eye and makes the theater a sustainable showpiece for the modern era. The building has won two awards presented by Ordre des architects du Québec, receiving both the highest honor from the deciding jury and the public choice award. The Grand Théâtre de Québec has also received the Green Building Award from SAB Magazine and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

+ Lemay

+ Atelier 21

Photography by Stephane Groleau via v2com