Montreal Cultural Complex Montreal, Canada
Cultural / Civic
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Cultural Complex Montreal, Canada
Cultural / Civic
The international design competition for this Cultural and Administrative Complex, to be built on the Balmoral Block of Montréal, drew over 200 competitors from 32 countries. The complex will provide the Montréal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) with a permanent home and a world-class concert hall. It will also house Quebec’s Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts and many government offices. Hillier’s award-winning design creates opportunities for interaction of citizens, students, performing artists and civil servants.
The urban block is a woven composition of the building’s four basic programs: administrative offices, Montréal Symphony Orchestra, conservatory, and public areas. Cultural and public components begin in the first three levels of the block and extend upward and through the offices on the floors above. Elements of each program component wrap others vertically to stitch and weave them together into an integrated whole.
The elevation facing the adjacent fur district is particularly transparent, perforated at the ground plane, and enlivened with retail shops that facilitate movement and connectivity. Etched into the building’s mass are traces of the residential structures that once inhabited the site. These articulated vertical surfaces are dematerialized as scrims, screens, or masks, allowing light to filter through them. These screens provide a visual fluidity, where the eye is allowed to pass into and out of semi-public and private spaces. In this way the offices, practice rooms and foyers, for instance, are opened to viewers. The entire block becomes a performance arena, with citizens and musicians “on stage” as they go about their daily work.
The 1900-seat Concert Hall for the Montréal Symphony Orchestra is lifted above ground level; its surface creates a great awning and marquis, revealing what was formerly a closed world to an open city. The Administrative and Governmental Offices weave between and around these dynamic gestures, with views into and through each of them.
Complexe Culturel et Administratif de Montréal, Montreal, Canada – 2004