Award of Excellence: Thtre du Vieux-Terrebonne

Vieux-Terrebonne, Quebec
Atelier T.A.G. / Jodoin Lamarre et Pratte architectes

To be located in Vieux-Terrebonne’s civic park overlooking the spectacular riparian landscape of the Milles-Isles River, the new theatre sits on the historic site of the first seigneurie of the Terrebonne region dating from the late 18th century.

Conceptually, the architects wish to explore a primordial link between nature and Terrebonne’s heritage, and the theatre is thus conceived as a link between nature and culture. The exploration is best accomplished with an architectural intertwining and a superimposition of these two themes: these are expressed as the theatre becoming its own landscape and Terrebonne becoming its own architectural moment.

The building is situated in the northeast corner of the site, punctuated by two enclosed gardens. These serve to link architecture with landscape, as both are landscapes without horizon and rooms without ceilings. The limit of the theatre’s envelope is blurred, allowing free discourse between the park’s promeneurs, moving in, and the theatre-goers, moving out.

Three major components of the project include the public square, the theatre proper, and the natural amphitheatre. An ascending ramp in the telescopic garden traverses the mass of the theatre from north to south and culminates on the river. Along this main axis, the theatre is situated on one side while the administrative functions are located on the other. A double-height foyer bridges the two, providing a panoramic view of the river and the main street.

An archaeological survey of the site revealed that the building’s location will not interfere with future excavations of potential significance. Energy conservation includes thermal resistance strategies for the roof and the walls and a curtain wall that uses high-performance glazing. Operable windows will allow natural ventilation into the administrative areas and mechanical systems are zoned to respond to specific climate needs when the space is in use. Materials will include stone, wood and zinc, and are patterned to recall the tin roofs of early French colonial architecture.

Boutin: This project is a finely tuned assay into the confluence of landscape and architecture as experiential fields that provoke, on a fundamental level, the consciousness of a body in space, and space grounded in a particular place. To this end, the project develops an interconnected sequence of sectional relationships that treat the landscape and built form equally. The result is that the performance that is enticed by the architecture does not reside entirely within the theatre space, but is imbued upon all those that enter the domain of this project.

Rosenberg: The building is sympathetic to its environment throughout all of the aspects of its design: the selective use of materials, its spatial organization, and the merging of interior space and exterior garden.

Sherman: We saw many projects that were very competent expositions of the modernist idiom, but this one was by far the best and most sophisticated, especially in the beautiful way that the public circulation/promenade laces its way through the building in plan and section.

Client: La socit de dveloppement culturel de Terrebonne

Architect team: Manon Asselin, Katsuhiro Yamazaki, Tom Yu, Andrea Merrett, Marc Laurendeau, Jean Martin, Grard Lanthier, Guylaine Beaudoin, Irene Nazarova

Structural: Leroux Beaudoin Hurens et associs inc.

Mechanical/electrical: Nacev consultants inc.

Landscape: Atelier T.A.G. with Cline Paradis Landscape Architect

Area: 2632 m2

Budget: $ 6.8 million

Completion: Fall 2004