The proposal “LOOP” by three emerging architects, Kim Pariseau, Étienne Pelletier and Dominic Poncelet, has been named 1st Prize Winner of the “Réalisons Montréal, Ville Unesco de Design” initiative which proposes an audacious new project that transforms the public space above the Ville-Marie Expressway into a dynamic contemporary light and sonorous experience.
Currently, this residual space is an eye sore that divides the touristic Old Montreal from the bustling downtown core. The goal of this project is to re-connect the fabric of urbanity and create a meeting place for public bodies. This creates a convergence of not only these two districts, but also the third, underground Montreal world. In effect, neglected underground life (metro, highway, shopping complexes) is transformed in order to compliment the urban, exterior public space.
The originality of this project lies mostly in its refiguring of our perception of underground sound. Noise created by the metro and the highway are generally considered as nuisances in urban life, something to be pushed away, eliminated or avoided. Under LOOP, these nuisances are seen in a new light: one of leisure, integration and entertainment.
The name of the project, LOOP, represents in one sense a new pole that is the synergy between these two p
oles (underground and above ground). And in a second sense, represents an attempt to reclaim the void that has been created by the Ville-Marie expressway’s concrete body.
This new space re-connects touristic sites and cultural attractions (Palais de Congres/ CHUM, Place Jacques-Cartier/Quartier des spectacles, to name a few), thus creating a seamless downtown. Furthermore, this site also improves street flow, usage and access to public and Montreal underground. Briefly, this new pole will allow for valuable reordering of urban infrastructure and their surroundings.
A pleasant, intriguing and playful site
By vertically linking the underground with the ground level via audio terminals and access points, the public space engages pedestrians and stimulates communication. City sounds (conversations, metro, highway, shows) are captured from lower strata in order to be partially re-emitted and superimposed at the surface. The decibel levels captured are retransmitted as sound but also as light via a lighting mechanism that harmonizes sound and light and changes based on the intensity of the sound. So when an underground train passes through, its path briefly illuminates the space in an ephemeral passage of movement, sound and light.
This new space would henceforth become an urban melody, a contemporary industrial urban visual experience . Inspired by the colours of Marcelle Ferron’s glassworks, the play of light, modulated by the intestinal sounds of the city, would result in a new eclectic, animated environment. The show would never end so long as public bodies are in flux. Their infinite capture, modulation and re-issue, would create a ceaseless renaissance of urban luminescence and sonorous delight. An inspiring challenge The “Shuko Montreal: Ideas Competition for the Redevelopment of the area around Champ-de-Mars métro station” has been a wonderful opportunity for us, as young architects, to reflect on urban issues. Our sincere thanks goes to members of the jury who provided very thought-provoking commentary on the «Réalisons Montréal, ville unesco de design» website, and the City of Montreal for creating the competition with the objective to “dream” our city.
About the architects:
Dominic Poncelet studied in agronomy, architecture and building construction design. Recipient of various architectural awards most recently for his work with the design team of the New Montreal Planetarium, he currently operates his own office which opened at the beginning of this year. His architectural interests are primarily in the integration of gardens, the aging and evolution of material, light expression, and construction design optimization.
Since 2007, OAQ and MIRAC architect Étienne Pelletier has worked in the institutional architectural industry with the Leclerc Architect firm. During his architectural studies at Laval University he focused specifically on urban planning, heritage buildings, and acoustics within the architectural medium. After finishing his studies, he was placed on the Honour Roll of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Kim Pariseau is a young and emerging architect whose primary interest is in the relationship between public spaces and architecture. She earned a Prize of Excellence during 2008 with the University of Laval masters program. She also took First Prize while collaborating with Érick Rivard and Samuel Décarie in the DEN(S/C)ITÉ project for the reconstruction of the Gerland neighborhood in Lyon. In addition to this, she also won the Public’s Prize for her design of a Nordic home in the BORÉALITÉ competition, organized by the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communication. She sojourned in Denmark pursuing an intercultural exchange at the University of Denmark Kunstadkademiets Architektskole in Copenhagen. As an autonomous worker she is currently working on various contracts for Montreal firms.
See the video here – Competition-winning concept LOOP
See the complete list of competition entries here.