Théâtre de Verdure
WINNER OF A 2020 CANADIAN ARCHITECT AWARD OF MERIT
“I like the layering of the material creating the stage sides, and the way it frames views. It’s very light—you see it in different ways as you move around it. It’s not an imposing structure, but takes its place within the park in a very natural and comfortable way. It’s modest, but it has presence.” – Michael Moxam, juror
At the heart of Montreal’s La Fontaine Park, Théâtre de Verdure has hosted professional dance and music performances from its inception in 1956 until its closure in 2014 due to outdated facilities. This major rehabilitation broadens the theatre’s mission, reaffirms its heritage identity, and creates a more open and accessible space throughout the year.
The design aims to facilitate a synergy between architecture and landscape. A number of new elements promote accessibility and visual links between the theatre and the park. These include a new entrance, the extension of trails within the theatre enclosure, and the thinning of low shrubbery. A new stage will be reconstructed on the site of the previous stage—a small island within the park’s large linked ponds—with amphitheatre seating reconstructed across the water. The outdoor stage becomes a key design element of the park, while simultaneously “staging” the landscape through its open front and rear elevations. Park users are encouraged to discover the theatre, and conversely, theatre-goers are invited to explore the park.
The architectural interventions support summer theatre performances and four-season events. The project includes updated infrastructure, enabling the theatre to accommodate 2,500 spectators and to host large-scale artistic productions, adapted to an outdoor stage.
Adjacent to the auditorium seating, a new structure contains the main entrance, washrooms, and artists’ entrance. A rooftop terrace offers superb parkland views, reinforcing interconnections between the built and natural landscapes.
The new Théâtre de Verdure goes beyond its core theatrical mandate, becoming a destination that invites rediscovery of the surrounding park. Nestled in its magnificent setting, the project reflects on the relationships between architecture and landscape, and between space and theatre.
CLIENT Ville de Montréal | ARCHITECT TEAM Concept—Eric Pelletier (MRAIC, design principal), Maria Benech (architect, design director), Marie-Eve Parent (lanscape architect, design director), Arnaud Villard, Sophie Lacoste. Project management—Yanick Casault, Andrée Castegnier, Maryse Ballard, Marie-Claude Leblond (MRAIC). Technical—Eric St-Pierre, Isabelle Brosseau, Alice Maria Calvalcante Lima, Laura Borey, Alejandro Mendoza Vazquez, Jean Deslauriers, Valérie Gravel, Francois Ménard, Xavier Bellefeuille, Daniel Smith | MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL Bouthillette Parizeau | STRUCTURAL Calculatec | CIVIL Marchand Houle | THEATRE Trizart Alliance | LIGHTING Ombrages | AREA Site—7,825 m2; Building—635 m2| BUDGET $11.5 M | CURRENT STAGE Under construction | ANTICIPATED COMPLETION Fall 2021