Bellechasse Transport Centre



The bus storage and maintenance facility is sunk underground, allowing a park to occupy the large site.

When the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) set out to build a new parking garage, it had a bare-bones design in mind. The 87,000-square-metre building, housing 250 hybrid buses and 600 occupants, was to be a 20-metre-high fortress, occupying two city blocks.

The architects instead proposed to sink the facility down into the site, making it the first completely underground bus depot in North America. Skylights allow natural light to enter the maintenance and parking areas, while the majority of the roof becomes a system of parks and scenic paths that gives back to the neighbourhood. The facility becomes an amenity for the adjacent residential area and extends the Réseau-Vert trail system south of the site.


Going underground greatly reduces both the visual impact and noise of the facility. A utilitarian building is transformed into a public space for the community. Atop the park, a circular figure holds administrative offices and a courtyard garden for STM workers. The office’s geometry reflects the shape of the ramps that bring buses around the site and down into the garage. As the most visible part of the facility, the offices have a similar scale to former industrial facilities in the area.

The facility’s four below-grade storeys include a car park, repair and maintenance areas, bus parking, and a level for mechanical equipment.

The two-storey above-ground structure houses administrative offices, fire prevention training rooms, and areas for drivers and maintenance crews. The structure is encircled by white fritted glass and metal fins, positioned to mitigate solar gain. The offices are topped with a CLT roof.

A circular pavilion houses offices for the transport agency.

Jury Comments

Rami Bebawi :: It’s solving the spatial needs of dealing with buses and the administrative offices. And it’s trying to heal an urban wound in the city and linking it by becoming an above-ground park. Those two notions are noble and it tends to do it with elegance. Can the development of the landscape be pushed forward, beyond planes and stairs, so that it becomes more inviting for occupation?

Joe Lobko :: This is a remarkable transformation of a building type, taking a massive parking garage with all its negative impacts and turning it into a landscape and public space feature. It is an ambitious city-building effort that cleverly and effectively synthesizes a challenging program and context, creating a great new landmark for this community.

Cindy Wilson :: This is an interesting reinterpretation of a transportation center within a dense urban environment. By burying the electric buses underground, the park can exist: a green transportation network creating a green public space. An investigation into the energy supply and heat recovery could further support the existing neighbourhood’s journey towards a greener future.



CLIENT Société des transports de Montréal (STM) | DESIGN TEAM Jean-Francois Gagnon; Architecture: Ramzi Bosha, Valentin Guirao, Ricardo Serrano, Samuel Paulin-Langlois; Landscape Architecture: Mylène Carreau, Camille Plourde-Lescelleur, Olivier Morin Alice Maria Cavalcante Lima. | PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM Pierre Larouche, Eric Dufour, Yanick Casault. | PRODUCTION TEAM Hugo Lafrance, Jean-Francois Morneau, James Sunderland, Claude Jean, Maryse Ballard, Eric St-Pierre, Alain Côté, Quincy Baccanale, Jennifer Noël, Rashin Forghani, Jean Deslauriers, Elisabeth Mathieu, Nadine Chartouni, Marie-Élaine Globensky, Kevin Wang, Elisabeth Fortin, François Dubois, Ryan Jackson, Julie Pettigrew, Julien Lauzon-Fullum, Anne-Marie Brochu, Sylvie Painchaud, Louise Ranger. | STRUCTURAL SNC-Lavalin / ELEMA / Infrastructure engineering Division STM | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL bouthillette parizeau | CIVIL SNC-Lavalin | INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Tetratech | AREA 87,000 m2 | BUDGET $225 M | STATUS Under construction | ANTICIPATED COMPLETION Spring 2022