Open to students in a master's program, the Between the School and the City competition is aimed at exploring new ideas for schools in dense urban environments. The themes explored will include places of transition, thresholds, informal space, the experience of citizens and children and the interfaces between school and the city.
The researchers located the project in Montreal in the Griffintown neighborhood, which has recently undergone major densification and where there are no public elementary schools. Some buildings in the chosen quadrilateral will have to be preserved.
In Montreal, as in many major Canadian cities, school design presents new challenges because the generalized model of the monofunctional building with an outdoor playground at the street level no longer corresponds to the land realities of downtown areas. However, school boards are struggling to change this model among government authorities and to encourage promoters to contribute to this change.
The Between the School and the City Idea Competition invites students to design a mixed-use architectural project that will include an elementary school, residential units and businesses. For practical and economic reasons, the school building would most likely be located on the first 3 or 4 floors. Some of its facilities could be shared with the public outside of school hours. Residential units would be mainly located on the upper floors while businesses would be located on the ground floor, on the street. The challenge of the competition is to reflect on the places "in between" located between the school and the city but also between spaces of different natures and functions.
(From competition documentation)
List of finalists
ABC12 / Maïlie Bélisle, Noémie Boyer-Richard and Maude Desjardins enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at McGill University.
DEF34 / Andrée-Anne Théorêt, Karlo Trost and David Auerbach registered in the Master of Architecture program at McGill University.
GHI56 / Basile Van Laer, Anne-Frédéric Blais and Jeremy Chui respectively admitted to the Master of Architecture program at McGill University, Université Laval and Université de Montréal.
KLM78 / Étienne Beaudoin Mercier, Rosalyn Dunkley and John Jinwoo Flan enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at McGill University
NOP90 / Cindy Colombo, Jade Beltran and Raphaëlle Leclerc enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at Université de Montréal.
- Following these rounds of discussion, the DEF34 presentation was not retained. Although formally interesting, the members of the jury consider that it is not a radical theoretical project and that it is not sufficiently developed. However, the jury recognizes that the premises represent a strong element of this proposal: the team proposes to develop infrastructures that are cared for just as they "care" for users, to empower the environment and to integrate the community into the design process. The DEF34 team's thinking is quite unique, as is their graphic work.
- The other four submissions were retained for further analysis.
- With little time left before the lunch break, the jury began a second round of elimination. Taking into account the opinions expressed in the first rounds, GHI56 and KLM78 were compared to ABC12 and NOP90 and then eliminated.
- The analysis of GHI56 and KLM78 continues. The general themes and stated premises of each are reviewed.
- GHI56 is appealing because of its integration with the Griffintown built environment and the overlay of uses that separates public and private spaces. The elevation of a slab allows for ground clearance that the jury noticed and appreciated, as well as the concept of the grand staircase that represents a beautiful in-between. However, the latter offers little connection with the interior spaces, which diminishes its relevance. On the other hand, density is addressed judiciously: the taller volumes are set back from the streets and school spaces. On the other hand, when the project is considered as a whole, the realism of a heavily vegetated park on a slab seems implausible to them, and the presence of a school is not evident. In comparison with the KLM78 service, the bias is clear and well expressed.
- The jury members had difficulty reading the drawings in the KLM78 performance, as well as understanding the relationships between them. However, the jury liked the perspectives, with their inviting atmosphere and the textures chosen. They seem to express a beautiful volumetric, material and tectonic integration of the old and new Griffintown. The KLM78 team has well studied the morphology of the urban environment in which the project is implanted. Moreover, this project is the only one to feature an interior in-between space. On the other hand, few in-between spaces could contribute to the animation of the future Murray pedestrian street. It seems to have been ignored. The large concrete wall on this street could be more permeable.
- The jury confirms that it does not retain these services.
- The jury members examined the remaining projects (ABC12 and NOP90) more closely, based on the questions proposed and the criteria set out in the competition rules, while taking into account the fundamental theme of the competition, namely the articulation of the in-between.
- The two performances are very well developed. The jury made a detailed analysis of the organization of the spaces and the circulation, and drew many parallels between the two projects, relating the realism of the concepts to the credibility of the premises.
- Both ABC12 and NOP90 present a wide variety of spaces and accesses, creating nuanced levels of use. Drawings and diagrams are highly valued and help in understanding project development. Those in the NOP90 performance, however, remain a bit tentative.
- The ABC12 project presents a rich exploration of the program, through a clear, understandable and well expressed bias. The idea of the ribbon as a route through the school allows for the creation of and participation in the space and encourages the children to climb and move. It is a logical and playful way to create a gradation from public to private space. While a strong expression of the concept, the ramp poses a difficulty in reading the circulation for the jury members. It is somewhat labyrinthine, not perfectly resolved, and its complexity could interfere with the daily operation of the school. However, this vertical circulation was an opportunity to think more deeply about the in-between spaces that are worked on both horizontally and vertically. As a whole, the proposal is very attractive and innovative, but less realistic in the current context. The proposed cohabitation between the community and the school program lends itself more to a school of the future.
- The NOP90 service exploits the relationship to the city, the neighbourhood and the street well: the future Murray pedestrian street is invested, the layout is clear and the school is at the center of the project. The project is well anchored in the urban context, even if the density is lower than that found in other projects. This seems to have resulted in less thought being given to the spaces in between, and, unlike the ABC12 project, vertical permeability remains underdeveloped. On the other hand, the interior spaces are well organized and designed and the distribution of classes is balanced. This has the effect of creating a sensitive environment for the children. The circulation is much simpler than in the ABC12 project. On the other hand, the outdoor and vegetated spaces support a singular aspect of the project, ecology. This interest in the environment is based on the identification of cycles, which consolidates a logical and systematic approach supporting the whole project. Despite these intentions, the representation of nature remains very timid and does not live up to the text of intentions. The jury members also noted the implementation problems posed by the planned urban agriculture on the ground and the access to the roofs.
- After reviewing the ABC12 and NOP90 submissions, the jury president proposed a final round of discussions. Each member then named his or her favourite project, stating the reasons for their choice.
- NOP90 was unanimously named the winner of the competition.
- The jury decides to give a mention to ABC12.
(From jury report)
(Unofficial automated translation)
Jade Beltran, Cindy Colombo, Raphaëlle Leclerc (Winner)
Maïlie Bélisle, Noémie Boyer-Richard, Maude Desjardins (Special merit award)
Étienne Beaudoin Mercier, Rosalyn Dunkley, John Jinwoo Han
Anne-Frédéric Blais, Jeremy Chui, Basile Van Laer
David Auerbach, Andrée-Anne Théorêt, Karlo Trost
Marie-Odile Marceau, Architecte
Jean Balekian, Enseignant.e
Josée Labelle, Architecte paysagiste
Marie-Odile Marceau, Architecte
Lucie Painchaud, Directrice générale adjointe, CSDM
Hubert Pelletier, Architecte
April 2019 - Competition launch and call for application
May 17, 2019 - Closing date for submission of applications
May 22, 2019 - Announcement of 6 finalist teams
June 1st, 2019 - Mandatory Workshop on school architecture with international guests
August 30, 2019 - Deadline for projects submission
September 10, 2019 - Jury
- Questions et réponses
- Questions et réponses
- Modèle 3D