How can a structure support human rights?

Designed by architect Antoine Predock, the Museum building integrates form with purpose. The striking landmark stands as a symbol of the ongoing struggle to achieving human rights for all.

Exterior view of the museum architecture with prairie grass in the foreground

Photo: CMHR, Aaron Cohen

Journey from darkness to light

This visionary building is a unifying symbol of concepts such as inclusion, freedom, equality and dignity – ideas that have inspired Canadians to strive for human rights. Its spiralling design takes visitors on an upward journey, progressing from ground to sky, darkness to light – intended as a metaphor for the struggle toward fully realized human rights for all.

Inspired by Canada’s majestic natural domain – grasslands, deeply rooted trees, towering mountains, northern lights, snow, icebergs, water and sky – Antoine Predock’s masterful design is evocative of numerous natural elements. Predock has described the building as “carved into the earth and dissolving into the sky.”

The Roots

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Photo: CMHR, Dan Harper

The Museum is grounded by four massive stone Roots, symbolizing humanity’s connection to the earth. Prairie grasses grow atop three of the Roots. The space inside contains classrooms, a temporary exhibition space, the Museum’s Boutique, ERA Bistro and the ticketing and information desk. In the future, it will also house a digital learning centre.

Meet the Architect

Antoine Predock is the visionary who has melded the idea of human rights with outstanding architectural form. Born in Lebanon, Missouri in 1936, he is an architect, landscape architect and interior designer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the Principal of Antoine Predock Architect PC, established in 1967.

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Photo: CMHR, Aaron Cohen

“I think of my buildings as processional events, as choreographic events; they are an accumulation of vantage points both perceptual and experiential.”

Antoine Predock, Architect


Predock attended the University of New Mexico and later received a Bachelor of Architecture from Columbia University.


He has garnered international attention with such projects as the La Luz community in New Mexico and the Nelson Fine Arts Center at Arizona State University. His work includes the Turtle Creek House in Texas (1993), the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York (2000), and a ballpark for the San Diego Padres, where he reinvented the concept of a ballpark as a “garden” as well as sports complex (2004).


Predock was honoured with the prestigious Rome Prize in 1985, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2006, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper‐Hewitt National Design Museum in 2007. In 2010, he was named a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. In 2014, Predock received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.


Predock is known for the skill he brings to interpreting regional identity in buildings. He works to create forms that are appropriate to landscapes and to human experience. He tries to show, through structures, how human beings can interact spiritually with a building, with technology, with the natural environment and with each other.

Our Mandate

Our role is to encourage thought and conversation about human rights globally, with a special focus on Canada.

Building the Museum

While most visitors come for the stories inside our walls, the design and construction of our building is in itself a story, full of interesting facts and features.