January 25, 2013
by Canadian Architect
The Centre d’exposition de l’Université de Montréal and the École d’architecture presents the exhibition Vive la Ville! Hommage à Melvin Charney par ses élèves from January 30 to March 17, 2013. The opening will take place on Wednesday, January 30 at 5:30pm. The fifty-odd works in this exhibition, framed by photography of Montreal’s landscapes – tacit references to the writings of the master – seek to demonstrate the importance of the teaching and the thought of Melvin Charney, while demonstrating the diversity of lessons gleaned from his teaching and its many ramifications, and thereby showing the ever contemporary alliance of life, architecture and the city.
The architects and artists gathered here in honour of Melvin Charney practice mostly in Montreal, while others are established in Europe and in the United States. Many of these practices enjoy international exposure and some of these architectural graduates work in other creative fields: scenography, design, visual and digital arts. They are also teachers, researchers and team leaders of public projects, many having received awards for excellence in architecture, art or teaching.
Melvin Charney died last September; leaving to contemporary architecture a unique intellectual legacy, incomparable to any other architectural work. One of the most influential architects of his generation, he was a professor and co-founder of the University of Montreal’s École d’architecture in 1964 and four years later, the Faculté de l’aménagement. Charney, through the exercise of the two practices of architect and artist, spent his entire life in intense theoretical work. Critical of the elitism of the profession of architecture from the beginning of his academic work, Charney focuses on minor, everyday architectures, from which he draws important lessons. Public places are not spaces generated by the rules of architectural composition, they come from the needs of ordinary citizens. Charney didn’t hesitate to address the political and ethical issues of architecture. He developed the notion of architecture as a public practice with its roots in society itself. The city is social space par excellence. Architecture is then, the art of the collective recognition of place. The major setting for this teaching becomes the Urban Architecture unit (AU) that Melvin Charney founded in 1978 where he taught with Alan Knight and Denis Marchand, and from 1984, Irena Latek. The AU Unit, immersed the students for several trimesters in a common approach and program, practicing the art of interpreting the links between architecture and the city, learning the roots of modernity in the industrial culture of North America, conceptualizing the project and learning to build.
In Vive la ville!, a large community of Charney’s students pay him homage. It presents recent work by architects and artists trained in the AU unit and aims to highlight the current configuration of these intellectual, artistic and professional traditions. The event comes to the defence of the city’s densely built fabric, its diversity and intensity; it is concerned by the quality of architecture and public space. If today the city is only one of the many conditions of what has become a fragile territory on Earth, the density and intensity of city life is still a major architectural concern. The quality of urbanity found in the social way of living together, finds in the city its richest and most complete expression, at one and the same time of the intensity of life and its constant transformation.
The exhibitors are: Réal Benoit, Alexandre Blouin, Gabriel Bodson, Martin Bourgault, Paul Bouvier, Katerine Brochu, Dinu Bumbaru, Pierre Cardin, Alain Carle, Roch Cayouette, Christine Chabanne, Philippe Chavanes, Pierre Colpron, Renée Daoust, Fannie Duguay-Lefebvre, Dominique Dumont, Wade Eide, Denyse Gauthier, Matthieu Geoffrion, Joanne Godin, Martin Hogue, Nathalie Jean, Alan Knight, Anick Labissonnière, Luce Lafontaine, Claude Lamoureux, Irena Latek, Michel Lauzon, Annie Lebel, Louis-Paul Lemieux, Jean Gilles Lemieux, Nicolas Lepage, Nicola Maeder, Gérald McNichols Tétreault, Pierre Morency, Denis R. Ouimette, Katherine Paré, Simon Péloquin, Sylvie Perrault, Oscar Ramirez, Nicolas Reeves, François Rioux, Nicholas Roquet, Daniel Smith, Peter Soland, Christian Thiffault and Stéphan Vigeant.
The exhibition is produced by l’École d’architecture de l’Université de Montréal, and the curators are: Alan Knight and Irena Latek. The Centre d’exposition de l’Université de Montréal is located in the Pavillon de la Faculté de l’aménagement, 2940 Côte Ste. Catherine Road, Room 0056.
The gallery is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 12:00 noon to 6:00pm. Admission is free.
For more information, please visit www.expo.umontreal.ca and www.arc.umontreal.ca or call 514.343.6111 x4694.