A museum is more than just the works it houses — the structure itself plays a huge role in how you experience the space. That’s where DIALOG came in when it came to designing the new Royal Alberta Museum space.
They fast-tracked the proposal, working day and night for 46 days to submit it by the deadline. “We realized how important this museum is to Edmonton and to Alberta, and I think … it was already in our hearts,” says Michelle Sigurdson, interior designer for the RAM and principal at DIALOG.
The overall design is a study in contrast, a “play between human made marks on the landscape and natural forms,” says Donna Clare, architect and design lead of the RAM and principal at DIALOG. There are solid, linear blocks of stone, juxtaposed with curvilinear forms like the statement staircase. The designers played with scale, allowing visitors to experience things in different ways, and they incorporated plenty of design gems that make the gallery experience memorable, from hand-blown glass balls in the light fixtures with different colours, to graphics behind the scenes.
They also kept details from the post office that used to occupy the space, including murals from artist Ernestine Tahedl. “We wanted to design it to be very specific to its place in the historic context of our city,” says Clare.