Finalists in the Space for Life architecture competition announced

Manon Gauthier, Ville de Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for Culture, Heritage, Design, Space for Life and the Status of Women, has announced the names of the finalists that have made it past the first stage of the Space for Life architecture competition. After deliberating last month, the jury announced its decision to the members of the Executive Committee. , who agreed to award 12 contracts for professional services to the firms authorized to represent the finalists for projects A, B and C of the first stage of the international competition. In so doing, the city administration is investing $847,000 in this major project that will provide legacies for Montreal’s 375th anniversary.

The international competition, launched in February 2014, calls for designs for three major projects, all of them legacies for Montreal’s 375th anniversary: the Insectarium Metamorphosis, the Biodôme Renewal and the construction of a Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden. Of the 59 proposals received, 21 were for the Insectarium Metamorphosis, 11 for the Biodôme Renewal and 27 for the Glass Pavilion. Four finalist teams were chosen for each project.

“We are pleased and proud that this architecture competition, intended to provide Space for Life with facilities worthy of our status as a UNESCO City of Design, has attracted talented firms from here as well as abroad,” Gauthier said, adding: “Design quality must raise the signature of Montreal in all of our urban planning initiatives. As a result, Space for Life will soon welcome true heritage jewels that will help affirm Montréal’s leadership role as a city of knowledge, a creative city and a standard-bearer for an international movement in favour of a form of biodiversity that brings people closer to nature.”

The competition, intended for multidisciplinary teams of architects, Living Building Challenge and LEED certification experts, scenic designers, landscape architects and engineers, attracted 30 proposals from nine different countries, mainly Canada (Quebec) and France, but also Tunisia, the United States and Spain.

During this first stage, the participants had to present their vision for one or more of the three projects. Many Quebec firms teamed up with partners from abroad and other Canadian provinces. Eight teams were chosen to take part in the next stage in the competition and to submit more detailed concepts for one or more of the projects.

The finalists for the Insectarium Metamorphosis are: Atelier Ville Architecture Paysage (representative: Atelier Ville Architecture Paysage + MARC MIMRAM of Quebec and France); in situ atelier d’architecture (Quebec); Kuehn Malvezzi GmbH (representative: Équipe Kuehn Malvezzi of Germany and Quebec); and Lacaton & Vassal architectes (France).

The finalists for the Biodôme Renewal are: Atelier Ville Architecture Paysage (representative: Atelier Ville Architecture Paysage + MARC MIMRAM of Quebec + France); AZPML Ltée (representative: AZPML + KANVA of the United States); ARCOP architectures inc. (representative: BNIM/L’OEUF/ARCOP of Quebec); and Coll-Leclerc arquitectos SLP (representative: Cloud 9-Coll-Leclerc-N.F.O.E. Architectes consortium of Spain + Quebec).

The finalists for the Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden are: in situ atelier d’architecture (Quebec); Kuehn Malvezzi GmbH (representative: Équipe Kuehn Malvezzi of Germany and Quebec); Lacaton & Vassal architectes (France); and Saucier + Perrotte architectes (Quebec).

These eight finalists will present their final concepts to the jury in July 2014. Members of the public will also be invited to this exceptional event, scheduled for July 9-11, 2014. A winning team will then be selected for each project.

The finalists were chosen by a highly qualified jury comprising five leading figures from the world of architecture and design, along with an expert in biophilic design and sustainable development. They are: William G. Reed, sustainable development consultant, Integrative Design Collaborative and Regenesis (United States); Jean Beaudoin, architect, Intégral Jean Beaudoin (Quebec); Édouard François, architect, Maison Édouard François (France); Mario Cucinella, architect, Mario Cucinella Architects SRL (Italy); Normand Hudon, architect, Coarchitecture (Quebec); and Stephen R. Kellert, biophilic design expert, Yale University (United States). In addition to these members from outside Space for Life, the jury included Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Executive Director of Space for Life; Anne Charpentier, Director of the Insectarium; Rachel Léger, Director of the Biodôme; and Gilles Vincent, Director of the Botanical Garden.

The city’s Bureau du design is working with Space for Life to prepare and run the competition. Such competitions are among the many commitments made by the city and the partners in the 2007–2017 Action Plan – Montreal, Cultural Metropolis, which aims to promote excellence in design and architecture while helping to affirm Montreal’s status as a UNESCO City of Design. Montreal is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, consisting of 41 cities in 23 countries. The network helps creators in member cities share their experiences, while promoting the international exchange of best practices and knowledge.

Montreal Space for Life is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Botanical Garden, Biodôme, Insectarium and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. These four prestigious institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together they are initiating a daring, creative urban movement, urging everyone to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and to cultivate a new way of living.

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