Architecture and landscapes as an experiential and musical instrument
A welcoming place of tranquility, luminosity and warmth, this project embeds a new and iconic bell tower with a restored 61-bell carillon into the landscape of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. Creating a fully accessible and beautifully illuminated urban icon and acoustical journey for visitors and pilgrims alike, it is a contemporary yet respectful architectural identity on a site of immense cultural, natural and heritage value for the city of Montreal.
One of the Quebec province’s most visited sites, the Oratory welcomes some 2 million visitors every year. To enhance its established significance, this design applies thoughtful and meaningful strategies to an established landmark that turns architecture into an experiential and musical instrument. Framed by the architecture of the Oratory itself and engaging in dialogue with the mountain’s topography and morphology, arrivals here are shaped by an inspiring ascension.
Alongside the bell tower, a new public square and sacred garden emerge to form pavilions of terraces, parklets and green roofs. The gabion walls are made of stones excavated from the site, in the spirit of reuse. Honouring the Oratory’s nature, its interiors unfold in striking combinations of wood and natural light. Integrated with its site, its renewed identity creates a place that is beautiful, reverent, and monumental all at once.
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