Canadian Museum of Inuit Art
The Canadian Museum of Inuit Art is the only place in Canada specifically dedicated to displaying and interpreting Inuit Art. Located in Queen’s Quay Terminal, the new museum joins a number of other important cultural institutions on Toronto’s Harbourfront. Queen’s Quay Terminal itself houses a range of residential and commercial activities, and is an important tourist destination. It is ideal situation for introducing many people to a significant Canadian art form.
As the ground floor of Queen’s Quay Terminal is mainly dedicated to retail space, the interior of the museum was designed to remove visitors from the commercial activity in the rest of the building and place them in a more rarefied environment for viewing art. The former retail space was stripped down to a bare minimum and coloured white. The walls, ceiling, and mechanical services, and display surfaces were painted white, and a new white cementitous floor was poured throughout. The resulting white shell was a simple and economic strategy for removing the displays from the commercial clutter of the mall.
The museum is organized around 7 galleries, which are delineated by four irregularly shaped partitions. The partitions, which also hold displays, run floor to ceiling and are constructed of metal studs and drywall. Canted in plan and section these wall forms are meant to evoke the iconic landscape form of the arctic ice. In contrast, the perimeter of the museum is rigorously orthogonal with display blocks/shelves cantilevered behind full height sliding glass panels. The construction of the display shelves, protective glass enclosures, and pedestals are intentionally minimal to provide a contrasting but neutral backdrop to the art.