Montreal Library wins architectural competition proposal

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Defined as the combination of a park and a shopping center, this library, designed by Chevalier Morales, is a real social and information exchange network that turns into a circulation structure. Photo courtesy Chevalier Morales

Defined as a combination of park and shopping center, the Pierrefonds Public Library designed by Chevalier Morales aims to bring old urban planning concepts to life by bringing together green spaces and community benefits in a site plan inspired by the architecture of shopping centers.

When looking through old master plans by Pierrefonds-Roxboro, the architects came across a graphic image that shows the most important planning criteria for green spaces in the district. The drawing showed an idealized park on a generic site. The park has been divided into different areas according to age groups and types of activity: green areas, resting areas, play areas, exchange networks, etc.

The main elements of the project are directly inspired by the typology of the shopping mall: wings that merge into a central meeting room, a network of stairs, a grandstand, floor openings that allow visual connections, several skylights and a civic room. The surroundings of the building, which are mostly filled with parking spaces, and opaque walls are replaced by green spaces and glass curtain walls.

An in-depth examination of this document, coupled with a reorganization of the various areas, especially the green areas, became one of the foundations for the project. As a result of these explorations, an indoor garden was created. The garden created using the extraction process allows both natural light and part of the natural environment to penetrate into the heart of the existing building. The garden also serves as a focal point for library users and staff.

The project adapts to the main elements of the site. Instead of being purely functional and economical, the shape of the building is geared towards both manifesting its urban presence on Pierrefonds Boulevard and approaching the wooded park, as well as withdrawing to expose existing green islands on the site.


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