Place des Montréalaises

Montreal, Canada
City of Montréal 

Place des Montréalaises becomes a constantly evolving space for artistic display, a key pedestrian connection and accommodates a plethora of new uses that seamlessly stitch these two parts of the urban fabric together and overcome the severance caused by the Ville-Marie Expressway. 

The new square is adaptable and flexible to support the transport interchange and a range of activities from play to exhibition and performance. The elasticity of the design accommodates multiple rhythms of fast and slow use in a landscape of varying levels, widths, apertures, hard and soft surfaces. We propose that Place des Montréalaises can become a collaborative platform that invites participation from an international community, focused by the local energy of the resident women of the arts.

A sculpted lightweight deck above the Saint-Antoine access ramp and expressway smoothes the disconnection created by level changes and offers a programmable space: a new plinth is created. Our design embraces the existing Champs-de-Mars station and Marcelle Ferron’s Vitrail (1966) seeking to enhance and expand this civic space. The approach to the station from the pedestrian footbridge is broadened to emphasise its function as both a transport link and site of social connection. As a marker at the end of the approach the station becomes a canvas for Ferron’s artwork enhancing its role as a welcoming pivot point connecting the square with the wider city. Shaping the adjacent public space for use as an outdoor sculpture gallery with multiple arenas for performance brings a programme of permanent and temporary installations by women artists and the potential collaboration with local cultural institutions such as the Musée d’Art Contemporain (MAC). 

On the opposite side of the site in counterbalance to the station is a subterranean art gallery offering a café, storage, cycle repair facilities and flexible programmable space that will become a destination in its own right. A play corridor is situated across the north side of the square with seating areas, play equipment, and robust shapes and forms brought to life by children and families using this space as a gathering place. 

Our design provides a public space for artistic innovation that integrates the historical and diverse contemporary identity of Montréal.