Canadian Architect

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Student Award of Excellence: Passerelle culturelle over the Chambly Rapids

Heritage meets functionalism in a footbridge/cultural centre for all seasons

December 1, 2003
by Canadian Architect

Grand parc des rapides de Chambly, Quebec
Maxime Pion, Universit de Montral

A footbridge proposed for the Chambly Rapids, this intervention uses the underwater ruins of an old hydroelectric dam to commemorate recent historic and cultural events at the site while also providing a means of reinterpreting the site’s forgotten industrial heritage. The project also proposes the design of interior and exterior gallery spaces, an auditorium and an outdoor theatre. The scale of the landscape is addressed through a consideration of the section of the waterfront along the city of Richelieu between the Chambly River system and the waterfalls that lead toward the historic/cultural/touristic Parc des Rapides and Fort Chambly sites. These elements form a larger park system along the Rapids themselves.

The promotion of cultural heritage is facilitated through the emphasis on development of the project along an old central dyke with a rich historical presence. Temporality is also engendered when particular relationships are considered here, such as the seasonal changes that affect the river and the site together.

Ecological sensibilities for the site accommodate an environmentally sustainable strategy with the use of a small hydroelectric generator inside the building. It would take advantage of the two levels of the waterway and the flow of the river’s current to allow an autonomous energy-producing component to the project.

An extensive promenade between the shores of the Richelieu River would cross parkland, historic sites, and an interpretation centre about the old dam.

Boutin: This project developed a public infrastructure dedicated to a complex of diverse cultural experiences. Foremost in this endeavor is the design’s intensive programming facilitated by the complex weaving of spatial components into an orchestrated whole. There is evidently a joy in the making of the architecture that is sure to be part of the experience of the architecture as well.

Rosenberg: The convergence of the dam and theatre in a symbiotic relationship allows visitors to experience a facility that is often not accessible to the public. This would be a unique venue for theatrical events.

Sherman: Extremely well-developed and well-drawn. An interesting association between, and inter-lacing of. the working infrastructure and the visitor/public/cultural spaces.




Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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