Saskatoon's new art gallery wins design award

The architects and engineers behind Saskatoon's new art gallery are beaming after winning the 2011 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence.

The architects and engineers behind Saskatoon's new art gallery are beaming after winning the 2011 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence.

The $71 million Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is being built in Saskatoon's new River Landing development.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for late 2012, with the opening anticipated for 2015.

It replaces the aging Mendel Gallery and will bear the Remai name to recognize its new major benefactor: The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, which donated $30 million — $15 million towards the building and $15 million for ongoing programming.

"The rational composition of gallery and theatre volumes on the banks of Saskatoon's river valley will be a compelling addition to the city's south downtown," Peter Sampson, one of the judges for the award, said in a news release.

The award recognizes the work of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects and Smith Carter Architects and Engineers.

The new gallery will be about three times the size of the current 47-year-old gallery it replaces.

"The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan will be a vibrant cultural centre for an exciting, dynamic city," said Vincent Varga, CEO of the Mendel Art Gallery.

"This award for the stunning design of the facility only reinforces our belief in the project, as we transition from the Mendel Art Gallery, with its own proud history in the community, to the expansive and exciting new landmark at Saskatoon's River Landing."