Theatre Du Vieux-Terrebonne

Architect Atelier Tag With Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Et Associes Architectes

Location Terrebonne, Quebec

The result of a 2002 Quebec competition, Atelier TAG and Jodoin Lamarre Pratte’s winning submission has given the theatre-loving Montreal suburb of Terrebonne an unequivocally modern showcase building along the Rivire des Mille les waterfront in the community’s old centre. The theatre respects its contextual heritage of the surrounding urban fabric through a number of architectural manoeuvres. The skillful insertion of the building into its site diminishes the impact of the fly tower, and the generous use of natural stone and glass ties the building to its historic context and opens it up to the landscape. A series of viewing platforms on the west faade further engages building occupants with site. Consequently, a potentially mute black box was transformed into a dynamic composition of unusually contrasting material choices and large expanses of glass, permitting glimpses of the interiors within and spectacular views out to the surrounding landscape.

Conceived as a social incubator, the Thtre du Vieux-Terrebonne is a device in which to see and be seen. Comprised of interconnected social stages, the interior topography of the theatre engages the exterior landscape as yet another stage for observing and being observed. The building is an assemblage of three major components: the public square, the theatre proper and the natural amphitheatre. The ascending ramp of the telescopic garden traverses the mass of the theatre from north to south and culminates at the river. The programmatic elements are structured along this main axis, flanked by the theatre on one side and the administrative functions on the other. The double-height foyer bridges the two and provides a panoramic view of the river and the main street. When viewed from the square at night, the building’s transparency provides the initial experience of transforming the audience into a spectacle.

The interior of the building provides a theatrical study in contrasts of colour, material and texture. Neutral grey hand-waxed acoustic panels line the walls of the intimate multi-use hall, in which 658 vibrant blue upholstered seats are arranged. The glossy lacquered blood red of the grand stair pops against raw concrete and pure white walls. Additional texture is communicated through the panels of industrial steel mesh comprising the faceted topographic planes of the ceilings in the public spaces.

Atelier TAG with Jodoin Lamarre Pratte have created a vibrant cultural facility for this community, and its interconnected sequence of sectional relationships accommodate both the landscape and the architecture, resulting in the sensation of performance throughout the building and its site.

Mario Saia: Nestled comfortably and skillfully in a setting that blends natural and heritage elements, this theatre nevertheless makes a bold and well-structured statement. The dynamic juxtaposition of the various spaces creates tremendous energy. The use of rubblework–a nod to early French colonial architecture–in no way detracts from the modern flavour of the building.

Client Societe De Developpement Culturel De Terrebonne

Architect Team Manon Asselin, Katsuhiro Yamazaki, Tom Yu, Andrea Merrett, Marc Laurendeau, Jean Martin, Gerard Lanthier, Guylaine Beaudoin, Irene Nazarova

Structural Leroux Beaudoin Hurens Et Associes Inc.

Mechanical/Electrical Nacev Consultants Inc.

Landscape Atelier Tag With Celine Paradis Landscape Architect

Environmental Graphics Pawel Karwowski

Scenography Trizart Alliance Inc.

Acoustic Octave Acoustique

Builder Gerpro Construction Inc.

Area 2,632 M2

Budget $8.65 M

Completion October 2004

Photography Marc Cramer