Place des Montréalaises
By : Lemay + Angela Silver + SNC-Lavalin
GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN – 15th edition
Discipline : Landscape & Territories
Categories : Concept / concept in landscape and/or urban development : Platinum Winner, Gold Certification
Healing a scar of an expressway by bridging the radically different urban topographies of Old Montreal’s heritage and history with the innovations of Montreal’s downtown core, the Place des Montréalaises is a sweeping, restorative gesture of landscape, architecture, and art. Through a public space of connection and reflection, this tributary landmark brings active change to a city’s statutory traditions, setting a new precedent for who is recognized and honored with its groundbreaking approach to commemorative territory.
At the core of this universally accessible inclined plane, users will discover a matrixed urban meadow made up of 21 perennial bouquets with indigenous plant life, each one memorializing the 14 victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique feminicide and seven pioneering women of Montreal. The power of their names is embraced further on its steps and in a sculptural homage contributed by Canadian artist Angela Silver; fragmented into perforated letters, these names run the length of a towering polished stainless-steel cylinder that mirrors back the image of onlookers who read them by day, and become a constellation by night when lit up. Joining the meadow and sculpture are two hectares of forestry which evoke the Quebec landscape with trees native to Montreal’s namesake green lung of Mount Royal.
With this complex system of landscape and architecture, the Place des Montréalaises not only seeks to give value to the history of women, but to give visibility to women—known, unknown, and forgotten—in a boldly public way.