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PHI is pleased to announce the launch of an international architectural competition for the design of PHI Contemporary - a 6 900 m² / 74 000 ft² cultural institution in Old Montreal, dedicated to exploring the contemporary through public engagement with art and culture.

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more on PHI Contemporary


As a future repository for PHI’s legacy, PHI Contemporary will be a new and permanent space to consolidate, extend and intersect PHI’s cultural offer, its communities, and the public life of the city.

Located in Old Montreal, and built upon a site rife with history - comprising an assemblage of four historical buildings and an adjacent vacant lot - PHI Contemporary will consolidate the public cultural offer currently housed within PHI Foundation and PHI Centre. The 6 900 m² / 74 000 ft² project will house exhibition spaces, a network of new media galleries, mediation, research and studio spaces, and an expansive public domain.

The projected construction budget is CAN$47,280,000, excluding taxes and inflation.

Architectural interests and challenges

  • The project should be conceived as an architectural whole, wherein diversity is celebrated but the design solution is clear and unified;
  • The architecture must project into the future and consider the next generation of visitors as a key user group;
  • The project should respond to the site (and its heritage buildings) through both an architectural and urban lens;
  • The heritage of the site should be understood through its legacies and potential, and the architectural proposal should respond in kind;
  • The project should celebrate the outdoors and the urban context - through daylighting, views, spaces and access points;
  • Expansive sustainability considerations should be integral to the design process (and be evident in its final form through the building’s performance, not its appearance).
PHI Bonsecours Annonce Site v3

Process & Schedule

The objective of the Competition is to select the lead architect for the realization of PHI Contemporary on the basis of the quality of their design concept, design approach and multidisciplinary team.


The international architecture competition will be held in three stages, following an open call for candidature, as follows:

Call for Candidature
International call for candidature
Aug 25 - Oct 14, 2021

Key deliverables:

  • A Candidate Dossier, including a portfolio of five completed projects
  • Three visual narratives, each composed of a sequence of ten collected images
  • One free form presentation board (A3 or tabloid) that conceptually positions the PHI Contemporary project in terms of its key potentials (cultural, spatial, urban, institutional or otherwise)

Stage 1: Strategic Proposals
Development of Strategic Proposals by ten (10) Competitors, selected by the Jury
Nov 22, 2021 - Jan 20, 2022

Key deliverables:

  • Two presentation boards (A1) presenting spatial strategies developed on the basis of the conceptual approach and identified potentials of the PHI Contemporary project
  • Video (2 minutes maximum)

Stage 2: Architectural Proposals
Development of Architectural Proposals by five (5) Finalists, selected by the Jury
Feb 14 - Apr 7, 2022

Key deliverables:

  • Six presentation boards (2xA1, 4xA0) describing the architectural concept and illustrating its evolution from articulated strategies and conceptual approach through to its eventual design development
  • Video (three minutes maximum)
  • Program area table
  • Visual material for the Jury presentation and discussion

Stage 3: Completed Proposals & Multidisciplinary Team Dossiers
Development of Completed Proposals and presentation of Multidisciplinary Team dossiers by two (2) Grand Finalists, selected by the Jury
May 9 - June 16, 2022

Key deliverables:

  • A Multidisciplinary Team Dossier
  • One free form presentation board (A0) demonstrating the development of the Architectural Proposal through the contribution of multidisciplinary expertise
  • Construction budget estimate
  • Visual material for the Jury presentation and discussion

Announcement of the Winner
July 15, 2022

Due to limitations of the COVID pandemic, all submissions will be digital, and all activities associated with the competition will be held virtually, unless otherwise noted in the Competition Documents. Should changing conditions permit any adjustment to this plan, advance notice will be provided to all architects participating at that time.

Eligibility &

The PHI Contemporary international architectural competition is remunerated and open to experienced architects internationally.



Any Architect who meets the following criteria is eligible to enter the Competition:

  • Is a member in good standing of the professional order or national association governing architectural practice in the country in which they operate;
  • Has at least 10 years experience practicing architecture;
  • Has completed a minimum of two (2) projects in the cultural sphere;
  • Has completed at least one (1) project involving the renovation or restoration of heritage buildings.

A consortium is eligible to submit if it demonstrates that it is composed of entities that have completed at least one project together prior to submission.


Participants will be remunerated for stages 1, 2 and 3 of the competition, as follows:

Call for candidature: No fees or remuneration will be issued in connection with the call for candidature stage. 

Stage 1: CAN$65,000 

Stage 2: CAN$200,000 

Stage 3: CAN$75,000 + CAN$75,000 for the multidisciplinary team’s participation in this stage


Amale Andraos PHI Contemporain Jury Square

Amale Andraos, Architect

Dean and Professor, Columbia GSAPP;
Principal WORKac

more details

Elizabeth Diller PHI Contemporain Jury Square

Elizabeth Diller, Architect

Professor, Princeton University SOA;
Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

more details

Phoebe Greenberg PHI Contemporain Jury Squarev3

Phoebe Greenberg, Founding Director and CCO, PHI

more details

Jacques Lachapelle PHI Contemporain Jury Square

Jacques Lachapelle, Architect

Professor, Université de Montréal School of Architecture

more details

Ippolito Pestellini PHI Contemporain Jury Square

Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Architect, Curator

Founding partner, 2050+

more details

Dan Stubbergaard PHI Contemporain Jury Square

Dan Stubbergaard, Architect

Founder, COBE

more details

*Please note it is strictly prohibited to contact members of the Jury directly or indirectly in connection with the competition.

Access to Documents

The Competition Documents pertaining to the call for candidature stage are available exclusively through the Quebec government’s e-tendering website: Système électronique d’appel d’offres (SEAO), subject to registration on the site and payment of related fees.

SEAO registration can be completed at any time. Competition documents* will be available as of August 25, 2021. An SEAO user guide can be found on the SEAO website.

To obtain the competition documents:

  1. Visit the competition notice on the SEAO website
    * if redirected to the SEAO homepage, the posting can be found by searching for “PHI Contemporary” in the upper right search box
  2. Preview or download the documents by registering on the SEAO website
    * basic registration and document preview is free, fees apply to download the documents

User guide video for SEAO website, click here.

For any questions related to the SEAO website or document download procedures, please contact Catherine Dubé at [email protected]

To submit a Candidature File:

  1. Complete the submission form via the competition website
    * detailed instructions are provided in the Competition Rules document

Please note:
All materials submitted must be in French.
Any submission received after the submission deadline will not be accepted.



For further information related to the competition, please see official documents available through SEAO (see instructions for access above in the "Access to Documents" section)

For press inquiries, please contact Myriam Achard at [email protected]

Coming December 2021

Join us for an international series of conversation and working sessions to explore the contemporary potential of the cultural institution.

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