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An International Competition of Environmentally Engaged Ideas

by Carmela Cucuzzella , Jean-Pierre Chupin, published 2017-04-19
The competition asked to reflect on the reinvigoration of public spaces around 4 bus stops situated on Sherbrooke Street East in Montreal. Open to students and graduates of less than 5 years in the fields of architecture, design, landscape and urban design, this ideas competition sought both designs that are environmentally engaging; and a series of principles that could be adopted for future implementation in collaboration with the City of Montreal, the STM and private landowners. The chosen slogan, “MORE THAN WAITING FOR THE BUS” invites designers to reflect on contemporary approaches that can help invigorate these spaces in interactive, poetic, critical and meaningful ways: from solely utilitarian to more multi-purposed spaces surrounding bus stops.

This competition was part of a joint initiative by the Concordia University Chair of Integrated Design, Ecology, and Sustainability for the Built Environment (ideas-be) and the Chaire de recherche sur les concours et les pratiques contemporaines en architecture de l’Université de Montréal to stimulate debate on the importance of public space for heightening awareness to climate change issues and to mobilize the creativity of young designers of the built environment. This 2017 edition was done in collaboration with Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montreal), an organization that focuses on the environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development for the island of Montreal.
The jury was composed of:
• André-Anne D’Amours - CRE-Montréal
• Zachary Patterson – Canada Research Chair in Transportation and Land Use Linkages for Regional Sustainability, Associate Professor, Concordia University
• Howard Davies - Architect, Big City and Professor at McGill University
• Ron Rayside – Architect, Rayside
• Peter Fianu - Architectand planning consultant atthe City of Montreal
• Christelle Kouotze - YQQ - Éco-quartier MHM
• Jean-Pierre Chupin – Research Chair on competitions of Université de Montréal and professor at l’Université de Montréal
Mr. Peter Fianu was unanimously named president of the jury, while Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella, co-organizer of the competition, was named the competition consultant for the jury, without being part of the jury deliberation. Ms. Christelle Kouotze was not able to be part of the jury deliberations, which took place on April 10th, 2017 at Concordia University. The jury was asked to select four winners, one for each of the four bus stop sites. It was at the discretion of the jury to select honourable mentions, knowing that the four winning teams would each receive 1500$ each.

Before presenting the results and taking into account the considerable number of entries and projects submitted, a few reminders are necessary.
Indeed, out of the 200 registered teams coming from thirty countries, over 96 projects were submitted by 72 teams from more than 20 countries: a third coming from Canada, a quarter from China and the remaining projects coming from the Americas, Europe and the Middle-East.

Given this large number of projects, the jury decided to carefully check the understanding and respect of the initial instructions in order to retain only those projects which addressed the great difficulty of the question presented by the competition. The organizers would like to point out that this competition was not intended to redesign the bus shelter, let alone to remove it from its context, rather, competitors were invited to rethink the sites surrounding the bus stops. The aim was to make waiting for the bus more pleasant in various ways, by encouraging citizens to use the bus rather than their car all year round, even during the hot summer days and the long periods of extreme cold winters.

In addition, and contrary to common approaches that consider bus stops to be objects placed indifferently on urban spaces, the organizers sought, with this series of competitions, to constitute a Guide to Best Practices which can be a summary of the principles submitted by each competing team. Some of the submitted projects were favored by several jury members, but their lack of "environmental design" principles that could be generalized to other sites became a disadvantage.

The jury proceeded in sequence by examining projects submitted to each site, in turn, knowing that several teams had chosen to present projects for several of the sites, which was allowed. The competition was judged in a strictly anonymous manner. Only Cheryl Gladu, a PhD candidate at Concordia University had access to the list of team details.

The results are presented by site and have been archived by the Canadian Competition Catalog (CCC) considering that there were essentially 4 competitions held simultaneously: www.ccc.umontreal.ca/index.php?lang=en

Below are extracts from the jury report:

Competition site 1 Corner Sherbrooke and Joffre, link Thomas-Chapais, in front of CH Judith-Jasmin)
• Team120 - César Cruz-Merino + Carlos Cruz-Merino, Canada

The jury appreciated the highly social and cultural dimension of the proposal. The incentive to read, moreover, to individual reading in a public place remains a simple and strong image. The proposed system is as elegant and flexible since it can be deployed and moved according to seasons and needs, both in summer and winter. The design makes it possible to imagine various ways to animate the site and takes into account the fact that this district welcomes many families. Some members of the jury also saw a reference to the fishing booths used on frozen lakes. The balance between security and openness is what has allowed this project to prevail.
(NB. The jury did not attribute any honorary mention for site 1)

Competition site 2 Cadillac Station, north-east corner
• Team 132 - Adrianna Karnaszewska + Sara Niepieklo + Sylwia Pedziejewska + Aleksandra Przywozka, Poland
This project proposes to constitute a luminous forest. Starting from a principle of modularity, which several competitors have chosen to adopt, given the repetitive nature of bus stop in the city, the project adds a playful and interactive dimension. The concept - highly cultural - is intended to be both educational and informative. It is of a scale that is as adaptable as it is reproducible and in so doing it responds to the possibility of its generalization. The jury considered that this proposal was an excellent complement to the generic bus shelter.

Honorary Mentions (site 2):
• Team 104 - Rikke Sandbugt + Anyana Zimmermann, Denmark & Germany
Project resolutely playful. One of the few proposals adaptable to all season. The focus given to children characterizes its underlying didactic canvas.
• Team 6 - Kloe Gagnon + Adélie Gélinas-Leguerrier + Nicole Kamenovic, Canada
This proposal received a mention because of its claim for a principle of conservation, which is as simple as it is strong: to work with the existing resources and natural entities. The principle is generalizable and it especially reminds us that all pre-existing conditions of any design situation carry a potential of invention.

Competition site 3 Langelier Station, south-west corner
• Team 142 – Vid Bogovic + Vlasta Damjanovic + Andraz Hudoklin + Lara Gligic + Laura Klenovsek + Sasa Kolman, Slovenia
For this site that received the most proposals, the deliberations of the jury were more difficult. This project has emerged as the most elegant in its design and presentation. Municipal water management is a real problem with considerable environmental implications and it is the only proposal that has chosen to integrate this issue into the bus stop. The proposal is very elaborate and presents itself as a series of systems that illustrate and implement devices for water reuse, energy production in a composition representing the water cycle. The microcosm of the bus shelter is then transformed into a true macrocosm. This project is paradoxically as minimalist as it is didactic.

Honorary Mentions (site 3):
• Team 28 – Leila Hormozi Nejad + Matthew Coelho + Gabriel Scott-Séguin + Florence Vanasse, Canada
A proposal that is conceivable regardless of the season. The idea of an urban terrarium, which can appear as an element of urban place-marker disconnected from its context, is nevertheless connected to the metro station in an astute way. The information exchange regarding the reduction of GHG’s through the use of the bus is done in a ludic manner and will therefore appeal to all ages.
• Team 74 – Zhu Jinyun + Qin Jin, China
The jury wished to mention this proposal, based on the excesses of public art which would be put here at the service of the modesty of bus stops. The project is audacious and frank, it is as playful - even ironic - as intriguing.
• Team 103 – Julien Guerineau + Axel Demazieres, France
This proposition is rich in references as it makes good use of the famous territorial grid imagined by the Italian collective Superstudio in the 1970s. The presentation is very beautiful. It could be transposed to most sites, but if the components were indeed transferable, the designers did not clearly formulate what would make it an environmental commitment.
• Team 105 – Paul Beaucé, Canada
Despite its great qualities, this project has a major flaw: it is not universally accessible. The elevation marking of the site, the overflow of the bus shelter ladder is in itself a remarkable concept that would be convincing on the urban scale. Would it have been possible to imagine it on one level while maintaining verticality?
• Team 165 – Amanda Barbosa da Silveira + Lucas Veloso Schwab Guerra, Brazil
A system that relies as much on technology as on the game. The jury appreciated how the proposal takes the whole site by intervening on the interstices. The explicit and voluntary consideration of the constraints of universal access was emphasized as a remarkable approach.

Competition site 4 Corner of Sherbrooke and Carignan
• Team 109 - Anne Wolff + Eve Gagnon-Levert, Canada
This is an excellent presentation. The jury appreciated the ground work and the different degrees of porosity and animation of the site. The idea of a "body machine" operating at the scale of the site is very interesting and the drawings - very elaborate and very well realized - show that it could work. The environmental principles are very well formulated. The networking of such a system would find its meaning both locally and globally.

Honorable Mentions (site 4):
• Team 131 – Hyunje Joo, Germany
An exceptional project, elegant and truly urban that could have been the first place winner. The proposal truly grasps the context. Including the automobiles from the nearby parking, the project constitutes a public space where the stands provide a social space for waiting. Removal of the bus shelter was not necessary, however.
• Team 139 – Junxing Lu + Zhixin Guo + Qinwei + Suqin Jia, China
The degree of elaboration of the drawings is particularly detailed. The overall quality of the presentation is excellent and the proposal offers an intimate scale which was highly appreciated by the jury.

• Team 164 – Drew Miller + Karine Lachance, Canada
The jury was particularly sensitive to the approach that led to this project, rather than to its aesthetic qualities. A series of rotations, additions and transformations manage to literally "absorb" the bus shelter. The resulting project is as tough as it is resistant. The site is really busy and the users are invited to reappropriate the public space.
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