• December 3, 2019

Lemay is celebrating after winning a Canadian Architect Award of Merit for Bellechasse Transport Centre, a bus garage and maintenance facility for the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

Canada’s first multi-level bus depot, a North American first to be completely underground, and topped by a public park, was originally meant to be a 20-metre-high structure occupying two city blocks. Lemay designed the transport centre in direct response to the concerns of nearby residents and to embody the STM’s corporate values of social responsibility and commitment to sustainable development.

The jury recognized Lemay’s radical proposal as “a remarkable transformation of a building type, taking a massive parking garage with all its negative impacts and turning it into a landscape and public space feature. It is an ambitious city-building effort that cleverly and effectively synthesizes a challenging program and context, creating a great new landmark for this community.”

Accommodating a fleet of electric buses and, in a latter phase, hybrid buses, as well as some 600 employees, the transport centre’s total gross area will be approximately 87,000 m².

Underlying the entire project’s functional program was the desire to drastically reduce its noise and visual pollution as compared to the feasibility study’s initial proposal. It cleverly conceals parking and maintenance zones underground, enabling the aboveground creation of a system of parks and scenic paths open to the public. A circular figure shelters administrative offices and leisure spaces for users as part of an open concept offering attractive city views, with employees receiving abundant natural light via skylights. The building’s reduced scale promotes its harmonious insertion into the urban context as its monumental quality pays homage to the area’s industrial-era remains. An emphasis on reinforcing pedestrian passage and public spaces reconnects the adjacent residential area and a nearby green network.

This is not the first time Lemay has reinvented transport centre design for the STM. The LEED-Gold Stinson Transport Centre has won 10 awards with its innovative optimization and sustainability strategies and neighbourhood integration.