Place des Arts (PdA) is a joint venture project between Toronto-based Moriyama Teshima Architects (MTA) and Bélanger Salach Architecture (BSA). The first multidisciplinary art centre of its kind in Northern Ontario, this cultural facility - consisting of seven member arts organizations- is projected to be an influential site of excellence for Sudbury focused on French-Canadian culture and community empowerment.
In 2008, the Summit of La Francophonie of Greater Sudbury identified the creation of a unifying cultural hub as an urgent priority. This envisioned civic space was one that could provide a special venue for the resident population and visitors alike to convene, share, and bond. The seven contributing organizations of ROCS (Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury) each brought forth their own unique standpoint as to how the desired arts facility should be formed. Aligning with the Greater Sudbury Downtown Revitalization Masterplan, it was important that all member organizations were heard, to best represent their respective programs and activities as they merged into this new dynamic space.
A collaborative endeavour on all fronts, MTA with Bélanger Salach Architects (previously YBSA) jointly served as the lead design architects for this project. Through sound and informed leadership, the two firms were together able to establish consensus amongst the 7 strong voices to achieve a flexible design that provides services for a wide variety of activities and uses, while contributing to the surrounding urban context. The building site is part of a trio of public amenities along the anticipated Elgin Street Greenway and bike path, linking the western and eastern districts of Sudbury. Greater than the sum of its parts, the architectural scheme of Place des Arts is highly intricate. The building program includes a 300-seat theatre, a multi-use studio performance space, a contemporary art gallery, library and national publishing house, boutique, bistro, daycare, and offices.
The material selection of Place des Arts is an expression of its location. Early frontiersman to explore the region noticed peculiar, oxidized rock formations, which soon led to the discovery of one of the largest mineral deposits in the world. The rocky outcroppings in the Sudbury Basin are composed of three different rock types, each recording a unique ancient environment; tan-weathering hard sandstones of the Canadian Shield, dark ridges of igneous rock, and pebble-rich layers of sandstone.
The design of Place des Arts engages with the street and sidewalk level to invite pedestrians into the facility, while reaching out to the surrounding neighbourhood with distinct, expressive façades. Each face of the building responds to and augments the character of its respective abutting cityscape, with calculated choices of materiality, pattern and texture.
The team effort of developing Place des Arts represents a culmination of creative professionals with one shared vision, successfully producing something that can be enjoyed for generations to come. The project leaders at Moriyama Teshima Architects and Bélanger Salach Architecture are looking forward to witnessing the numerous cultural, heritage, and artistic events that will be hosted at PdA.