The Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) was the first purpose built museum in the country. The original building – known as the Victoria Memorial Museum Building (VMMB) - was designed in the Beaux-Arts Style by David Ewart. Ewarts structure reflect the Romanesque and Medieval styles of Europe with a combination of Tudor and Gothic features.
The revitalization project designed by Barry Padolsky Associates Inc. Architects, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, Gagnon, Letellier, Cyr, Ricard, Mathieu Architectes showcases the original heritage building, using contemporary architecture to generate a dialogue between past and present. The most visible feature is a glazed Lantern element that restores the original proportion of the main entrance and creates a super-scale display unit. With the lantern, a butterfly stair resolves the original circulation system which was disconnected when the tower was removed. The stunning museum is the winner of a 2011 OAA Design Excellence Award.