Permanent event venue inspired by theatrical heritage revitalises Montreal's cultural core
Historically home to Montreal's red light district, theatres, and museums, the project demonstrates the ability of cultural momentum to shape an urban redevelopment.
Reawakening Montreal's theatre district, this first step in a multi-phase urban regeneration project brings people back to the urban core; revitalizing an eroded area of the city, and creating a permanent setting for festivals and cultural events such as, Montreal's International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs Festival.
It takes its cues from the theatrical heritage of the neighbourhood magnifying the stage to the scale of the city. Côté jardin (stage left or 'garden side') and côté cour (stage right or 'court side') become the articulating language; contrasting the soft, green landscape with the hard, black and white surface of the plaza.
The new urban plateau of 12,000 sq m, capable of hosting 25,000 people, functions as a formal setting for festivals, equipped with lights, wiring and cabling, and as a stage for public life throughout the remainder of the year.
Signature lighting elements, the mega-structures form the walls and ceiling of the urban stage, illuminating the space below and acting as festive, urban markers confirming the presence of le Quartier des spectacles within the city's urban fabric.
The largest interactive fountain in Canada, the theatrical curtains of water and light are composed of 235 jets and 470 lights, the focal point of the plateau is the central fountain that rises 12m above the surface of La Place des Festivals. Red and white curtains of water rise 2.2m creating an experiential light and soundscape. The fountains, programmed to respond to movement, light and sound, invite and showcase public interaction.
Initially abandoned lots used only during the festival season, the reconfigured public realm of the red light district establishes a physical complement to these ephemeral events, formalising theatricality and transforming the urban experience, from the spectacle to the district.