Canadian Architect

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Governor General’s Medal Winner: Amphitéâtre Cogeco

WINNER OF A 2016 GOVERNOR GENERAL’S MEDAL IN ARCHITECTURE

May 19, 2016
by Canadian Architect

A tapered red roof and aluminum-clad fly tower give the amphitheatre an iconic presence in Trois-Rivières.

A tapered red roof and aluminum-clad fly tower give the amphitheatre an iconic presence in Trois-Rivières.

LOCATION Trois-Rivières, Québec
ARCHITECTS Paul Laurendeau Architect (design and project architect)
in joint venture with Beauchesne Architecture Design

In the early 2000s, the City of Trois-Rivières began work on a major revitilization project for a site on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Formerly industrial land, the parcel was a prime location adjacent to the harbourfront park, city centre, St. Lawrence River and St. Quentin Island. The municipality envisaged a majestic, harmonious and vibrant amphitheatre, and chose to hold an open architectural competition with the aim of obtaining a world-class building.

In 2011, Paul Laurendeau Architect won the competition in a joint venture with Trois-Rivières-based Beauchesne Architecture Design. The Amphithéâtre Cogeco, which opened with a Cirque du Soleil performance on July 15, 2015, garnered media acclaim for its spectacular architecture.

The facility includes 3,500 fixed seats.

The facility includes 3,500 fixed seats.

The qualities highlighted by the competition jury are undeniable. The project boasts an elegant and imposing structure, and provides ample views of the St. Maurice and St. Lawrence rivers. It is a model of sound planning, which includes enhancement of the site and public river areas. Its interiors benefit from natural lighting and the clarity and simplicity of the spatial organization. Conceptual integrity was maintained throughout the project’s development.

From an urban perspective, the building is situated at the tip of the site, bordering on the St. Maurice River. Its silhouette is reflected in the water at night, similar to the Sydney Opera House, which was cited as a reference for the city. The waterfront location also frees up the central portion of the development area, providing wonderful views of the river from Avenue des Draveurs, a new urban artery in Trois-Rivières-sur-Saint-Laurent.

Thousands of additional spectators can enjoy concerts from the grassy slopes that ring the back of the amphitheatre. Photo by Adrien Williams.

Thousands of additional spectators can enjoy concerts from the grassy slopes that ring the back of the amphitheatre. Photo by Adrien Williams.

Symmetric and open like a welcome pavilion, the four sides of the structure dialogue with its setting: to the west, the historic downtown core of Old Trois-Rivières; to the north, the new Technoparc and the main access road; to the west, St. Quentin Island and its beach; and to the south, the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The massive horizontal roof, which measures 80 by 90 metres, forms a distinctive architectural element—one that stands out from the landscape. Covered in red perforated metal soffits, its underside is supported by eight metallic-painted columns, each 85 centimetres in diameter. Scale-like aluminum panels, in three shades of red, clad the central concrete fly tower. Like a curtain, it transforms the building’s rear façade into a dramatic entrance.

View of the amphitheatre reflected in the St. Lawrence River at night. Photo by Adrien Williams.

View of the amphitheatre reflected in the St. Lawrence River at night. Photo by Adrien Williams.

The bright colours have a theatrical feel, reinforcing the building’s function. Lighting at the base of the columns creates sparkling contrasts on the underside of the roof, showcasing the form of this new landmark for Trois-Rivières.

:: Jury :: The amphitheatre has become an icon in the transformation of the riverfront precinct in Trois-Rivières, providing a new identity for the city. Using the simplest of geometries and the lightest of touches, the architects have created a memorable place for performances. The jury admires the precision of its distinct floating roof. Night lighting and the use of bright colour make the building a beacon for spectacles and performances at the water’s edge.

CLIENT Ville de Trois-Rivières | ARCHITECT TEAM Atelier Paul Laurendeau—Paul Laurendeau, Boris Morin-Defoy, Renée-Claude Langlois, Erwan Le Diraison, Gabriel Ostiguy, Claude de Passillé. Beauchesne Architecture Design— François Beauchesne, Robert Mailhot, Étienne Paradis, Maxime Gervais, Joannie Desrochers, Nathalie Lord. | STRUCTURAL Stantec Ltd. (formerly Dessau) and Pluritec | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL Stantec Ltd. (formerly Dessau) | THEATRE CONSULTANT FOR THE PROJECT Trizart Alliance | ACOUSTICS Octave acoustique | THEATRE CONSULTANT FOR THE ARCHITECT Guy Simard | LIGHTING Éclairage Public | GRAPHICS AND WAYFINDING Bureau Principal | CODE Technorm Inc. | AREA 14,000 m2 | BUDGET $42 M | COMPLETION July 2015