Excerpt of press release :
« Montréal, 19 November 2021 – The winners of the CCA’s Interuniversity Charette 2021 are being announced today during the special award ceremony held online.
This year’s special edition of the CCA Charrette, titled After MacDonald, organized in collaboration with the interuniversity research group After Macdonald, invited proposals for temporary interventions to address the emptied plinth of the Macdonald monument and/or the site around it, and to challenge the idea of permanence and public memory: Interventions that can speak to Macdonald’s legacy in particular or to issues around racial justice more broadly, and can employ architectural approaches including time-based and performance media. Proposals had to consider the positionality of the team: how do you justify your intervention? For whom do you claim to speak?
This year’s special edition of the Charrette was open to students enrolled in any university around the world, and in any discipline, as well as recent graduates. Participants should form teams of two to three people (for graduate level students and recent graduates), or teams of two to five people (for undergraduate students).
The jury evaluated proposals submitted by eighteen teams composed of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates. Members of the jury are:
- Natalia Gulick de Torres is the Urban and Architectural Historian at Archivos del Caribe, and a Master of Design Studies candidate at Harvard
- Patrick Stewart is a Nisga’a architect and the first Indigenous president of an Architectural Association in Canada
- David Theodore is the Director and Canada Research Chair in Architecture, Health, and Computation at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, at McGill University
Balançoire/Swing references the removal of the statue of the former Prime Minister by protestors in 2020, who pulled it off its plinth using ropes. This intervention directly responds to and challenges the now-empty plinth in a head-on moment of reflection. We applaud the use of the bright orange colour both symbolically and graphically, as well as the effective use of user-friendly rendering software. The simple yet effective implementation of a swing additionally recognizes that many victims of Macdonald’s policies were Indigenous children who perished within the residential school system.
- Lisa Hadioui, Université de Montréal – Architecture
- Juan Fernando Barrionuevo, Université de Montréal – Architecture
- Kamelia Djennane, Université de Montréal – Architecture
Voix is the most successful proposal from many that sought to give voice to the voiceless. It uses wooden structures to manifest the metaphor of a megaphone and sounding board. Like many projects, the creators are censorious about Macdonald but blind to their own assumptions—in this case, the stairs create a barrier to participation for the public the project looks to engage. Voix could be developed by thinking ways to use the installation itself as an amplification system. We appreciated that it activates the entire plaza as well as the plinth.
- Salma Alaoui, Université de Montréal – Architecture
- Jamila Baldé, Université de Montréal – Architecture
- Jean-Michaël Simard, Université de Montréal – Architecture
At first glance La Dimension Cachée appears as an unreadable series of texts. However, when one approaches the surrounding water basin, the message behind this intervention becomes legible. The reflection in the basin displays phrases referring both to Macdonald’s praised attributes and his destructive othering policies. The proposal convincingly lays out how designers envision assembling the installation, showing how each motion aggregates towards a final form.
- Charlotte Beaumariage, Université Laval – Architecture
- Joël Videaud-Maillette, UQAM – Environnemental Design
The jury awards a special mention to I Own You, a proposal with a striking and impactful message. The staging of mannequins in a dramatic tableau, envisioned like a historical freeze-frame, creates a provocative symbolic reckoning with the experience of children in residential schools. However, it also sidesteps one of the important goals of the Charrette, namely, it doesn’t engage directly with the plinth and the park in a way that we would hope. Nevertheless, putting a female figure representing the church on the plinth initiates a macabre nexus of associations of ideas about childhood, death, freedom, and innocence.
- Marcela Torres, Concordia University – Art History
- Christopher Clark McQueen, McGill University – Architecture