March 11, 2016

Augustinians awarded the Thomas-Baillairgé Prize

The Ordre des architectes du Québec (OAQ) awarded the 2015 Thomas-Baillairgé Prize to Québec’s Augustinians on February 11 in appreciation of the architectural excellence of the remodelling work at the Monastère des Augustines. The congregation’s superior general, Sister Lise Tanguay, received the honour on behalf of her community at a ceremony that took place in the historic Augustinian church. The ceremony was attended by more than thirty contributors and friends.

A prestigious award

Through this prize, the OAQ acknowledges the Augustinians’ valuable gift to society and their commitment to the community for over 375 years. By passing down their building, collections and archives, they are preserving their heritage and, in so doing, making a priceless contribution to society and generations to come.

 To underscore this gesture, which the OAQ deems generous, bold and visionary, it was only natural for its board of directors to award Québec’s Augustinians with this prize. Begun in 1983, the Thomas-Baillairgé Prize showcases efforts to promote and preserve the quality of life in Quebec. This yearly prize was founded in memory of one of Quebec’s most eminent architects of the 19th century.

A ceremony rich in history

The monastery’s church was a most appropriate choice to hold the award ceremony since Thomas Baillairgé worked there in the 19th century. In her speech, Sister Lise Tanguay quoted the monastery’s annals, in which the sisters entrusted the architect with the task of drawing up plans for the church’s interior, including, among other elements, the false vault and the choir altarpieces and chapels. Much to guests’ delight, the original text was displayed in the front of the church. Thomas Baillairgé’s work here came to an end in 1832. It is one of the rare interiors where Baillairgé himself worked as a sculptor. Between 1833‒1834, he completed the tabernacle of the main altar, which rests on a Roman-style mausoleum built in 1803 by a sculptor from the Atelier des Écores. The side altars were created between 1845 and 1850 by Baillairgé’s pupil, Raphaël Giroux (1815‒1869), according to Baillairgé’s plans.

Read the press release by the OAQ (in French only)

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