Unifying a premier heritage ensemble

  • Client

    City of Montréal
  • Location

    Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Year

  • Discipline(s)

    Urban Planning

Unifying a premier heritage ensemble

This master plan restores the grandeur and significance Montreal’s civic heart deserves. Always a monumental district, La Cité administrative has now become a human-centred experience.

The stately urban block lies at the crossroads of Old Montreal and the modern city. Of great architectural and artistic quality, it has historically held the city hall, courts, prison, market, courthouse, customs and barracks. Its public spaces, works of art and commemorative elements join a rich archaeological heritage dating back to the 1600s.

But half a century had passed without any comprehensive planning for the district. There had been new construction, redevelopment and expansion. Landscape and architectural trends came and went. The City recognized the need for coherence.

With this new master plan, “this urban grouping will once again express the prestige of a unique and identifying component of Old Montreal” congratulated the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, as it conferred it a national award in planning analysis.

Our development vision was to be both historically accurate and contemporary. Through careful research and attentive design, we strove to enhance the district’s most iconic elements while responding to modern issues such as accessibility. And we are proud to see that as built out, our plan restores distinction to places that now beckon to be rediscovered.

For the first time in decades, pedestrians are able to stroll from downtown to the St. Lawrence River. A sequence of high-quality public spaces invites discovery and contemplation. The Place des Montréalaises unites old and new sectors. The historic Champ-de-Mars is transformed from a parking area into a grand urban promenade. A beautifully crafted, playful and universally accessible  integrated ramp and stair combination then allows all to climb to the highest point: Place Vauquelin.

With a focus on designing resilient, impactful and iconic experiences, we made the Cité administrative more visible and welcoming than it has ever been, its precious heritage on full display.