Actualité 08.03.2013

ARTICLES – Canadian Architect – "Montreal: Urban Spectacular, Art History 101 + More Than Meets the PHI"

Urban Spectacular
A bold series of downtown plazas reintroduces vibrant urban life into spaces left over from postwar mega-projects.

PROJECT Quartier des spectacles–Secteur Place des Arts, Montreal, Quebec
ARCHITECT Daoust Lestage Inc.
TEXT Nik Luka
PHOTOS Daoust Lestage Inc. unless otherwise noted

Montreal is defined, more than most cities in North America, by its public realm–how its streets, squares and parks are configured as well as the ways that people animate and appropriate those spaces. The casseroles and associated activities of the 2012 printemps érable were but the latest in a long history of Montrealers making public space live up to the democratic ideals extolled in the work of philosophers such as Hannah Arendt. There is something remarkable in Montreal’s very publicness, where streets literally teem with life both summer and winter. This is due in part to the city’s dense prewar neighbourhoods of residential multiplexes, in part to a certain cultural comfort with city life, and perhaps also in part to a pan-Canadian notion of Montreal as a cosmopolitan metropolis where business interests play a secondary role to arts, culture and joie de vivre.”

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Art History 101
A marble-clad gallery block and a church-turned-concert hall form an unlikely union in the newest addition to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts campus.

PROJECT Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art
ARCHITECT Provencher Roy + Associés Architectes
TEXT Tanya Southcott
PHOTOS Tom Arban unless otherwise noted

Looking out from the fourth-floor galleria of the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, the uneven slate of a century-old rooftop testifies to years of abuse by the harsh extremes of Montreal’s weather. The mottled texture of the tiles and their claret-coloured brick gable foreground a panorama of streets lined with historic mansions and modern apartment blocks that lead the eye north, towards the city’s iconic namesake, Mount Royal. Here in the heart of Montreal’s Golden Square Mile district, the tides of change are ever present in the urban morphology.”

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More Than Meets the PHI
A multimedia arts centre adds new creative spaces to Old Montreal.

PROJECT PHI Centre, Montreal, Quebec
ARCHITECTS Atelier in Situ in joint venture with Shapiro Wolfe
TEXT Elsa Lam
PHOTOS James Brittain, unless otherwise noted

Montreal is host to some 31 arts centres, including several that consistently attract high-calibre talent to small-scaled spaces. Part performance hall, part art gallery, part party venue, these places assume a wide mandate that allows them to host, say, a cultural history conference in the morning, a pastry-making workshop in the afternoon, and a dance party at night.”

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(Source: Elsa Lam, Editor, Canadian Architect)