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A Montreal must-see if you're interested in architecture.

A Montreal must-see if you're interested in architecture Architecture buffs traveling to Eastern Canada will find a new Montreal museum worth a visit. Open since May, the Canadian Centre for Architecture is described as the world's most lavish independent institution devoted to the subject. It owns North America's most important collection of architectural photographs, drawings, books, and toys.

The museum's founder is heiress and architect Phyllis Bronfman Lambert, whose firm renovated the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Long active in historic preservation in her native Montreal, Lambert purchased the Shaughnessy House in 1974 to save it from demolition. It became the centerpiece in the design of a permanent home for the CCA and its collections--assembled with what has been called Getty-like rapidity.

The new 150,000-square-foot building by Montreal architect Peter Rose assumed a U-shape around the Victorian mansion, whose limestone-block walls, slate shingles, and curlicue ironwork were laboriously restored. Rose's elegantly restrained design used native materials: gray limestone, honey-toned maple, black granite. Trim rails, and an entry pavilion are brushed aluminum, including an innovative cornice that casts an ever-changing tracery around the wall.

Exhibits will continue to draw on the collection's 130,000 books, 20,000 prints and drawings, and 55,000 photographs, as well as 250,000 other items. You might see the first illustrated edition of Vitruvisus' De architectura (1511), sketches by Palladio, works by generations of Americans from Cass Gilbert to Mark Mack.

Among the photographs are 1906 panoramas of San Francisco; Dickensian scenes of 19th-century European cities; construction of famous bridges, dams, and landmarks. The most expensive photograph in the world to date ($170,000) is a 1915 scene of New York's Wall Street.

Until January 1990, the Octagonal Gallery features an exhibition about the building itself. A glass panel is one wall reveals temperature and daylight control systems, inner working of the structure.

Visitors can also try manipulating architectural images on a computer screen, browse in an excellent bookstore, and stroll CCA's new landscaped sculpture park across the street.

Through November 19, in a nod to the French bicentennial, the center has a special exhibit on the Pantheon in Paris, and on its architect, Soufflot. Photographs of 400 mills in New England will be up December 5 through February 1990.

The center, at 1920 rue Baile, a block north of Boulevard Rene-Levesque and about a mile west of downtown, is open 11 to 6 Wednesday and Fridays, to 8 Thursdays, and noon to 5 weekends. Admission is $3 (about $2.50 U.S.)
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Title Annotation:Canadian Centre for Architecture
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1989
Words:419
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