In consortium with Angela Silver + SNC-Lavalin
The winning entry in an international, anonymous transdisciplinary design competition, Montreal’s Place des Montréalaises is an evocative public space that will honor 21 women who have shaped the city.
Located over a sunken expressway that has long separated Old Montreal from its downtown counterpart, the project heals a wound in the cityscape with its inclined plane that reconnects the two. This grand gesture is a response to monumental surroundings: the historic Champ-de-Mars, the soaring new university hospital (CHUM), the majestic city hall and courthouse buildings, and Lemay’s award-winning Place Vauquelin, among many others.
This suspended architectural piece becomes a floating flowery meadow, with integrated stairs inscribed with the women’s names: an inviting and evocative space. It merges two radically different urban topographies, framing a series of thresholds of varying scales.
The design introduces three symbolic architectural components:
THE FOREST is an entranceway, a place to rest and reflect. It evokes the Quebec landscape with trees native to Montreal’s beloved Mount Royal.
THE INCLINED PLANE is a singular belvedere to contemplate the City. Its meadow’s 21 plant varieties will flower in sequence, constantly evolving in memory of les Montréalaises.
THE FOUND OBJECTS include the Champ-de-Mars metro station with its exquisite stained-glass windows, centering the spatial organization; and a government building to don an iconic cylindrical envelope.
The components’ strategic placement establishes a relationship among them, creating a sequence of destinations.
Visitors will also discover distinct public spaces in each corner of the site: an urban amphitheater, a multifunctional esplanade, an urban axis and a second forest.
A complex matrix-based landscape system created to be as functional as it is aesthetic.
In reunifying downtown and Old Montreal, Place des Montréalaises will conscientiously repair the urban fabric, its every thoughtful detail reflecting a unique context and message.