Saucier+Perrotte to represent Canada at Venice Biennale in Architecture

The firm of Saucier + Perrotte Architects has been selected through a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2004 Venice Biennale in Architecture. The Biennale, which is the world’s most prestigious architectural exhibition, will take place in Venice, Italy from Sept. 4 to Nov. 7, 2004.

Consistent with the Biennale’s theme, “Metamorphosis”, Saucier + Perrotte’s project focuses on “the constantly renewed reading and reconstruction of memory landscapes”. The work will manipulate scale, distance and light to “suspend” the spectator in that process of reconstruction. The firm will present models of recent projects such as the First Nations Exhibition Pavilion at the Montreal Botanical Garden, the Grande bibliothque du Qubec, the McGill Faculty of Music, the New College Residences of the University of Toronto and the Grald-Godin College (Ste-Genevive) as part of this exhibition.

The Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) are working in partnership in the administration and base level of financial support of Canada’s architectural representation in Venice. The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montral (CIAC), directed by Claude Gosselin, will produce the event. George Adamczyk, director of the School of Architecture at University de Montreal will act as curator. Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham noted that the importance of the Venice Biennale in Architecture is to give Canada an opportunity to gain more visibility and prestige on an international scope.

For the first time this year, Canada Council Architecture Officer Brigitte Desrochers will be commissioner of the project, as part of the Council’s ongoing effort to strengthen and promote awareness of Canadian architecture. Ms Desrochers is a former curator and visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Harvard-educated with a doctorate in design, she has received awards from organizations such as the National Gallery of Canada, the British School at Rome and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Formed in 1988, Saucier + Perrotte has quickly become internationally recognized for their cultural buildings. Gilles Saucier and Andr Perrotte combine architecture, urban and interior design. Elisabetta Terragni and Kurt Forster, director of the Venice Biennale in Architecture, describe Saucier + Perrotte’s work as “architecture that takes shape as a collective image extracted from-and reembedded in the land of which it has become a permanent part.”

Since 1990, Gilles Saucier has taught architecture in many universities around Canada and the US. In 2001, he was one of the guest speakers for “New Voices”, a lecture series organized by the New York Architectural League. He was also one of three Canadian Architects invited to join the recent Governor General team to promote Canadian culture though a series of state visits to Finland and Iceland.

Andr Perrotte received his degree in 1982, worked for Bobrow and Fieldman, Cardinal Hardy and Cayouette, Saia and Associates before founding Saucier +Perrotte in 1988. As Project Architect, he coordinates the design and construction process in addition to being administrative manager for each client.

Saucier + Perrotte have received over thirty awards and mentions for quality of work and attention to detail. Award-winning buildings include the Grald-Godin College in Ste-Genevive, the Faculty of Music at McGill and the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Montreal. The First Nations Exhibition Pavilion in Montreal received a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence in 2000, a Governor General Medal in 2002 and an Ordre des architectes du Qubec Award of Excellence in Institutional Architecture in 2003.