Amphithtre Trois-Rivires Sur Saint-Laurent

ARCHITECTS Paul Laurendeau | François R Beauchesne | Architectes en Consortium
LOCATION Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Situated at the junction of the St. Maurice and St. Lawrence Rivers, the new Amphithéâtre de Trois-Rivières acts as keystone to the new urban development of Trois-Rivières sur Saint-Laurent. Intended to reconnect the existing harbourfront park and St. Quentin Island to the city’s downtown core, this new urban redevelopment will transform this once overlooked industrial area into a vibrant neighbourhood. The amphitheatre is meant to be the first of a series of projects, infrastructure pieces, cultural institutions and public spaces intended to transform the site into a cultural promenade along the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec City.

Delicately held up by eight columns, a thin and elegant roof takes advantage of the natural beauty of the site and frames the majestic St. Lawrence River. This slender roof gently slopes from 10 millimetres at its edge to six metres at its centre and captures the shimmering lights being reflected off of the water. The various programmatic elements–including the 3,500 orchestra seats, stage, dressing rooms and administrative spaces–are covered by the 80 x 90-metre structure. The stage and fly tower’s volume are based on the proportions of Montreal’s Place des Arts, accommodating a variety of shows ranging from rock, jazz and pop concerts to Broadway musicals to ballet and circus acts. Sloping upwards and out from under the roof, the lawn has the capacity to accommodate an additional 5,500 visitors outdoors.

The main access to the building is located on the southeast façade where a double-height foyer creates a link with a newly created urban square beside the amphitheatre. The lobby is flanked by reception areas, cloak rooms and dining rooms that reunite in close proximity the programmatic elements necessary for year-round use of the building. During winter months, a guillotine door closes the stage opening, allowing its interior to be used for receptions, private events, shows and banquets. The loading docks, stage, workshops and storage rooms are situated on the same level to facilitate handling of scenery equipment. Black and red steel cladding covers the exterior of the building, while the interior reveals raw concrete floors, bright white walls and black acoustical mineral-fibre panel ceilings. Spaces that are used daily such as the reception, offices and meetings rooms are awash in natural daylight achieved through ample fenestration. On the second level, a fully glazed wall in the green room reveals a scenic view of the St. Maurice River. 

DC: There’s something to admire in a water’s edge project for a small city that is unapologetic in pursuing its own terrain of “monumentality.” It is refreshingly undertaken here with what appears to be a singularly prominent and elegantly structured canopy. In a scale at par with the overhead canopy, the grass-raked deck which extends out from beneath unexpectedly emerges as an equally striking physical gesture, ultimately rewarding any of the ascending public with a grassy commons in the form of a vista-laden promontory.

MCC: The formal resolution of this project is very attractive, and the liaison between site, landscape and architecture is highly successful. However, the elegance of the building may face structural challenges during the design and construction process.

BH: This is a stunningly presented project that proposes an extraordinary place on an extraordinary river. A clean plan combined with adventurous (perhaps challenging) tectonics and a strong combination of architecture and graphics suggests the possibility of a dramatic enhancement to the public realm at a great Canadian river edge.

Client Ville de Trois-Rivières
Architect Team Paul Laurendeau, François Beauchesne, Robert Mailhot, Renée-Claude Langlois, Boris Morin-Defoy, Erwan le Diraison, Maxime Gervais
Structural Dessau-Pluritec
Mechanical/Electrical Dessau
Landscape VLAN | Paul Laurendeau
Interiors Paul Laurendeau | François R Beauchesne | Architectes en Consortium
Project Manager Verreault
Lighting Éclairage Public
Scenography Trizart
Acoustics Octave
Signage Bryan-K. Lamonde
Code Technorm
Rendering MIR
Contractor Ville de Trois-Rivières
Project Manager Verreault
Area 14,000 m2
Budget $41 M
Completion 2014