Stade de Soccer de Montreal
Gilles Saucier, Saucier + Perrotte Architects
Gilles Saucier / Saucier + Perrotte architectes
André Perrotte / Saucier + Perrotte architectes (Managing principal) Darryl Condon / Hughes Condon Marler Architects (Principal) Trevor Davies / Saucier + Perrotte architectes (Project architect) Michael Henderson / Hughes Condon Marler Architects (Architect)
Ville de Montréal (Contact: Rémy-Paul Laporte)
The park’s immense size calls for an architectural intervention of grand scale, a truly unique gesture in the city. In order to ensure the formal unity of the project, the design has been developed as the transformation of a single expansive element: a structure conveyed as a single formal gesture in cross-laminated timber. The structural grid/cells form a layered mesh, which appears to be random at first sight, but which in reality becomes denser in zones where added structural strength is needed. This cellular grid composes the articulated and continuous roof which cantilevers over the entry plaza, folds down over the interior soccer field and extends to the ground to become the spectator seating for the outdoor field. In that way, the roof’s behavior reacts to the requirements of the program and enables the interior soccer center to become the exterior open-sky stadium. An integrated design process has led to the formulation of a structural grid that takes into account sustainability criteria and optimizes the dimensioning of the structure’s members according to the loads and spans. In the rest of the program, energy efficiency has been achieved through lighting design, insulation, equipment, HVAC, heat recuperation, geothermal energy, high performance/efficiency glazing and envelope and movement detectors. Sustainable features have been integral to the design from the beginning of the planning process.
On the site of the former Miron quarry and a future ecological park, the new indoor soccer stadium emerges from the park’s artificial topography as a mineral stratum recalling the geological nature of the site. The design retains traces of the site’s “artificial” topography. The new building adds a layer onto the topos — a layer reminiscent of the geological nature of the site but also symbolizing its new uses: sports, recreation and physical activity. The architectural stratum follows the site’s shape and transforms to adapt and to unify the indoor and the outdoor phases of the project. The history of the site of the Saint-Michel environmental Complex (SMEC) has been marked by change and evolution. Since its beginning as a mining center, then as a dumping site, human intervention has taken a severe toll on the land’s topography and symbolism within the city. This location is now destined to become one of Montreal’s biggest parks with a focus on the environment and ecological restoration. Adding to the site’s uniqueness are the bermed park-like landscape along a major urban artery (Papineau Avenue), and the presence of a residential neighborhood. Along Papineau, the presence of the existing berm has been preserved, not to hide the building from the city, but to mark the vital presence of the park and to facilitate the access to it.
Along Papineau Avenue, the architecture adapts to the existing landscape by embedding its supporting functions within the berm. This integration accommodates an elevated pedestrian path as well as preserves the existing trees. A subsequent series of crystals emerge from the augmented landscape to provide daylight and views for the administrative and public spaces behind. They project out from the landscape toward the street to receive abundant natural light. A large crystal box which contains the main lobby emerges from the terrain’s southeast end, signalling the entrance of the soccer centre. Despite the broad scope of the project’s program, these luminous elements and preserved vegetation give the architecture a critical human scale that respects the residential neighbourhood it faces. The transparency of the building promotes a sense of openness and the design attempts to eliminate blind spots to ensure the safety of its users. The programmatic elements are organized efficiently by taking advantage of the linearity of the site, as well as considering the program associations and usages of players, spectators and park visitors. The centre includes one full-size interior soccer field that can be subdivided into mini-soccer fields; locker rooms and a fitness and physiotherapy room for the players; an event space, restaurant area as well as a family rest area to accommodate its community and park visitors; and offices for regional soccer association.