In Montréal the city is perpetually unfinished. Where buildings are intended there are open lots, the yearning for completeness is unfulfilled. In this unfulfillment is another city, where parked cars are suites of rooms, empty all day long, and open ground is an unofficial, unconscious alternative to the street.
The shadow, smell, sound, the quality of the city after rain, provide the psychic background by which we understand it, and behind this is the natural history. These things are condensed in our scheme.
We do not enclose the space de La Dauversière, or complete the place Jacques-Cartier, but propose that these empty space are true products of our society for which significance must be found.
The lopsided openness of place de La Dauversière, next to Nelson's Column and the mass of the highrise behind place Jacques-Cartier, and its serene negation of the Hôtel de Ville are striking and beautiful.
The ground of place de La Dauversière is re-laid to its natural gradient, rue Le Royer becomes a lane, and the Château de Ramezay is left on a hill. »
Tiré de ARQ, Février 1991, n 59, p22
Certain projects act most powerfully as a form of critique rather than as a specific solution. The jury put forward this scheme with that in mind.
The focus of discussion for this proposal centered on the above grade treatment of Place Jacques-Cartier. (The underground level of parking was considered inappropriate to the project's intentions and was therefore dismissed.)
The proposal takes the broad, sloped plane of the "Place", strips it of all non-essentials and paves it in local granite. The result seems deceptively simple yet is powerfully connected to the sense of Place that is the old city. It is also a proposal that is immediately realizable.
In most other respects, the project shows a certain lack of confidence in the possibility of modern insertions into the existing city fabric. It points, perhaps, to the destruction that such acts have wrought in the recent past. Its critical stance focuses attention on fundamental attributes of place. It proposes that any action be well considered and gentle so as not to overwhelm a fragile fabric. In the face of excesses, it resists and warns.
In the words of the author of the project: "The shadow, smell, sound, the quality of the city after rain, provide the psychic background by which we understand it, and behind this the natural history. These things are condensed in our scheme.
(Excerpt from the jury's comments)
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