Nos: Nightclub Xperimental

Student Martin Cote, Universite Laval

Location Quebec City, Quebec

Modern society lives in an acoustic environment radically different from the past. As our society has evolved, so have sounds which differ in quality and intensity. We suffer from an overabundance of acoustic information and a proportional reduction in our capacity to distinguish between the nuances and subtleties of sounds. We have become insensitive with respect to the sounds that surround us. Sound pollution is caused by the noises we have learned to ignore. To counter this growing problem, four approaches were developed in this architectural thesis: Sound Experience, Unusual Effects, Rhythms, and Acoustic Ecology.

The objective of the project was to select a chaotic architectural model and propose a renewed version by improving its acoustic environment. As such, nightclubs seem an obvious choice to redefine, as they disrupt the peacefulness of their neighbourhoods. And once inside, nightclubs blast their sonic power into their customers, making meaningful conversation and interaction virtually impossible.

The intervention takes place at the escarpment in one of the noisiest sectors of Quebec City, and incorporates site-specific attributes such as the existing elevator infrastructure. This nightclub forms a vehicular and pedestrian conduit connecting the lower and upper levels of the city, and proposes to create a sequence of spaces along the axis defined by the cliff. The escalator transports people towards the terrace, the forest of musical lighting columns provides an explicit correspondence with the neighbouring park, and the musical stairway connects the two levels of the escarpment.

The project manipulates noise, in that the undesirable sounds of traffic and pounding beats from the club interior are minimized or ameliorated by simple architectural gestures such as the implementation of specific geometries, porous walls, resonance cases or cupolas. Sometimes the noise is filtered to preserve only a few frequencies and at other times, it is manipulated to prevent it from affecting the surrounding environment. But the noise is never completely banished; it should be understood that noise is not necessarily a harmful entity.

Ouellette: This project takes the awkward spaces created by urban infrastructure and makes inhabitable places from them.

Provencher: NOS presents a unique scheme for a unique site, where the student has managed to utilize seemingly unusable land under an expressway for a nightclub. He has explored the transformation of sound and has exploited it as a new environmental experience. This intervention successfully addresses a most interesting challenge and a difficult site.

Taylor: This project is similar to the AMP student project in the ingenious way that it occupies an apparently unusable site. It achieves a high level of credible architectural development through its proposed material palette of wire containers filled with stones, tying it formally to the construction of the highway embankment with which it melds.