Undulating Inuit art centre Qaumajuq opens in Winnipeg

Qaumajuq, the new Inuit art centre in Winnipeg, Canada is an undulating cultural hub designed by Michael Maltzan to display and celebrate contemporary work by Inuit artists

View of the exterior of the quamajuq inuit art centre, set beyond a road with traffic lights, tall buildings lit up in the distance, small chimneys with steam on some of the roof tops, clear dusk sky
(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

A brand new Inuit art centre is opening at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). Named Qaumajuq, this new cultural hub in Manitoba, Canada, has been designed to celebrate the creative output, and in particular contemporary work by artists from the Indigenous community in the country. The facilities have been designed by Los Angeles based architect Michael Maltzan and bring together clean, minimalist forms with a sense of openness and state-of-the-art gallery interiors. 

The project combines art galleries with spaces for academic research, studio art, and educational programs. This wealth of facilities to honour, study and learn about Inuit art is an addition to the city's cultural map that has been awaited with excitement. The scheme involved the renovation and significant extension to the WAG's existing 1971 Gallery building by Gustavo da Roza. 

Interior foyet of the quamajuq inuit art centre, glass fronted casting shadows, glass design centre piece, visitors walking by, gloss neutral stone floor

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

The new building's undulating, light-coloured, Bethel White Granite facade brings a refreshing twist to WAG's well known existing building. ‘Its abstract quality recalls the scale and carved forms of the North as well as the artwork housed within its walls,' explain the architects. Sinuous and light-feeling, while at the same time firmly anchored to the ground through its solid materials, the structure features polished concrete floors and clean, white interiors that allow the art to take centre stage.

The centre contains galleries, but also classrooms, art studios, an interactive theatre and research areas, as well as a shop and cafe. The interior is flowing and open, allowing views through areas and levels. A custom desiged glass art storage vault at its heart houses part of WAG's relevant art collection (which in total holds some 14,000 pieces), prominently showcased as a key architectural and display feature that draws the eye and interest of visitors. At the same time, seen from the street, the vault's striking presence also attracts the attention of passers-by.

Starting to open its doors to visitors this week – starting with inviting members of the Indigenous community to see it first, today – Qaumajuq will throw its doors open to the wider public from 27 March. 

‘Qaumajuq builds on the WAG’s long history of collecting and exhibiting Inuit art and working closely with Inuit partners and stakeholders, guided by our Indigenous Advisory Circle,' say the art centre's representatives. ‘We aim to provide a platform for Inuit voices and ensure Inuit and all communities feel welcome and at home.' 

Night time image of the Quamajuq inuit art centre, exterior looking through the glass front at the lit up building and visitors inside, surrounding area and buildings lit up , clear night sky

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Display gallery of colourful ornaments, the centrepiece in the Inuit art centre foyet

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Dusk shot of the Quamajuq inuit art centre, road with traffic lights, buildings in the distance lit up, smoke in the air from the roof tops of distant buildings

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Exhibition viewing area, white room with marble floor, mannequin exhibit, white divider walls, metal orange container with door open, circular lights on the ceiling, artwork photographs on the right hand side wall

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Viewing gallery, white curved walls with framed artwork, mannequin on black gloss stand, circular ceiling lights, neutral marble floor

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Circular viewing gallery, white brick walls, curved white walls, stairwell, blurred female visitor, centre piece display towers containing ornaments, glass front foyet in the distance

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)

Viewing gallery, red colour seating, visitors sat in seats, glass walls looking out onto the stairwell, sun light coming into the gallery casting shadows

(Image credit: Lindsay Reid)



Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from