The New Brunswick Museum has announced that the Toronto-based Diamond + Schmitt Architects have been chosen to redesign the institution and give it more space and improved facilities. Established in 1842, it is Canada's oldest continually operating museum, but at its current location in Market Square, Saint John, it can only display 5 per cent of its collection. This includes a Hall of Great Whales, a strong decorative-arts collection from the 18th and 18th century, when New Brunswick was an international shipbuilding centre, and the Maritimes' largest research collection of bird specimens -- about 10,000 skins, skeletons, eggs and nests.
The museum chose Diamond +Schmitt, which has won more than 100 national and international awards for planning and design, from among 12 competitors. Jack Diamond, who led the team for Toronto's new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, will serve as the principal in charge, with Michael Leckman as project architect. Leckman was design director for the University of Toronto's Bahen Centre and the Medicine Hat Arts and Heritage Centre. "We were really impressed by the firm's ability to present international architecture in an environment that speaks to New Brunswick," says Jane Fullerton, the museum's director. "The waterfront will be a key part of that."