McGill College Avenue marks Montreal’s hyper-center, intersecting with downtown’s famous commercial artery Sainte-Catherine Street. Stretching along the promenade connecting the Mount Royal to the Saint-Laurent River, the Avenue connects McGill University Campus to the North and Place Ville Marie to the South, acting as a physical and symbolic link between the city’s institutional and commercial cores.
The proposal put forward by CIVILITI + MANDAWORKS is first and foremost an elongated piece of the Mount Royal, the ancestral forest, stretching along a generous esplanade traced on the historical axis forgotten in the ever-denser city grid of Downtown. The esplanade is a canvas for new urban life, bordered with terraces, public art, performance spaces, and mature trees framing views of the Mount Royal like a large living painting which visitors can rediscover season after season.
At the intersection of forest and esplanade, an ephemeral stream gathers the flows of the contemporary city, rainwater, and melting snow. It meanders through public life, carving clearings, passages, and four-season lounges at the edge of the woodland. It runs between large pebbles, a collection of pieces of furniture that are both enigmatic and precious - sometimes seating, sometimes brazier, sometimes fountain - which offers moments of intimacy and places for physical and visual interaction with the new avenue.