Quebec gets its waterfront back courtesy of Daoust Lestage Inc.
The project reclaims a neglected infrastructural fringe into a generous public, leisure oriented naturalised environment, thus reactivating the city’s access to St. Lawrence River and revitalising its shoreline. The Champlain Boulevard highway is thus requalified into a landscaped, permeable urban boulevard.
Drawing on the site’s unique past and genius loci, the project uncovers and showcases vestiges of natural and coastal heritage. The project delicately weaves a sequence of diverse experiences and atmospheres, navigating from the boundless visual expanse of the river to the tactile sensory experience of the human scale.
The sinuous 2.5 km course of the Promenade consists of a continuous leisurely river boardwalk and a rythmed sequence of four diverse thematic gardens. Each of these singular, dense landscape attractors captures and magnifies the material and poetic qualities of local coastal environment. They celebrate the mist, the wind and the sensory pleasures of water, as well as the memory of docklands' archetypes.
The rich, sublime atmospheres and textures are materialised as much with stone boulders, timber assemblies and corten steel thresholds, as with native plants and trees, and as with vapour haze, thick shade, mellow light glows and water reflections.
Immersed into an all-encompassing green tide, the gardens are linked by a pedestrian and bicycle path, acting as the project’s connecting spine.
The urban furniture, specifically designed for this project, maintains the robust simplicity of maritime, harbor heritage, paramount to this site’s genius loci.
The project’s underlying, yet seamless achievement is its strong contribution to the restoration of the uniquely rich and diverse, albeit fragile coastal eco-system, and to the renewed accessibility of the river.