The Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ architectural design is intended to “create a path for the visitor from darkness to light, and its signature architecture symbolizes hope for a changed world,” said the CMHR’s award-winning architect Antoine Predock.
Predock’s concept for the Museum drew inspiration from Canadian landscapes of vast prairie skies, snow, icebergs and northern lights. His design was also inspired by Canadian cultures, including Indigenous cultures, as well as imagery of tree roots and outstretched wings. The average floor-to- ceiling height of each Museum level is 5.2 metres, creating a sense of vastness and openness. The immense glass cloud that envelopes the building fills the upper portion of the Museum with light, completing the visitor’s metaphorical journey from darkness to enlightenment.
The visitors’ journey starts in the Museum’s “roots” that rise from the ground of The Forks. From these roots, visitors ascend a series of ramps that act as bridges from one gallery to another. Their journey encompasses over 4,375 square metres of exhibit space – 10 zones and a gallery for temporary exhibitions – connected by nearly a kilometre of ramps. These ramps ultimately take visitors to the Tower of Hope, a 23-storey glass structure overlooking the Prairie horizon. As visitors make their way through this remarkable building, they encounter hundreds of human rights stories and the people who lived them. This offers them a unique opportunity to examine human rights issues in depth.
Such a complex structure presents many unique challenges to ensure accessibility for all visitors. In this guide, we detail the many ways we have worked within our architecture to ensure a full and rich Museum experience for each person who enters our doors.