Student: Simon St-Denis
Advisor: Ipek Tureli
Studio: Design Studio Option (DST)
Year/Term: Fall 2015
Large cities like Montreal are areas of high mobility. Thousand of people need to travel across the city everyday for many reasons. Transit infrastructures should be designed to go beyond functionality and become significant public features. How can we design urban space in the context of a new mobility to consolidate common identity in fragmented neighbourhoods? And how can such equipment be improved to promote active transportation and physical activity? In order to move away from a car related approach to the city, coordination between different transport means and universal access is necessary.
Following this idea, the project uses as a starting point the plan to extend the blue line of the Montreal metro network towards the east. Envisioned in the 80s, the project restarted in 2013 in response to the growing demand of public transport in this areas of the island. A metro station is a true time based public space, a place which simultaneously acts as dynamic transportation node within the city’s infrastructural system and a public arena, changing through day and night and made for the comfort and pleasure of its local inhabitants.
The selected site is one of the potential locations of a new metro station. Situated at the intersection on Pie-IX and Jean-Talon, the site of intervention is the geographical meeting point of three distinct neighborhoods representing very diverse communities. The large existing mall and its vast parking lot currently creates a disruption the urban street grid creating a lack of qualitative space around the site which currently has little to offer in the realm of meaningful architecture and urban design. The urban territories around the Jean-Talon mall can be characterized by poor transportation links and strong social and physical discontinuities. The site will thus become an important transit node between the new metro line and the Rapid Bus line on Pie-IX, an important north / south commute axis.
The project begins by transforming the parking at the intersection into a public space in relation to the linear metro entrance while integrating additional functions such as a café and bicycle parking. This new linear centrality reorganizes the multiple traffic flows and aims at making the station a new public landmark and a backbone for future development. Following this vision, the project propose two possible gestures to reinforce the urban setting. First, densify the site along Jean-Talon with services like a clinic, a kindergarden and work spaces above a metro entrance and second, reconfigure the mall with a small scale commercial strip, to invert the introverted logic of the existing building.
To further emphasize on the aspect of the metro as an attraction point for movement and physical activity, the station is combined with a public underground sport hall running along the metro track. Sport will be displayed to the commuters and be easily accessible. The station weaves together the district’s infrastructure needs with a series open public spaces with specific atmospheres: [a sunken garden, slopping public roof, public plaza] but openings in the landscape allows to bring natural light and natural ventilation to the platform. The design aims to create a continuity of space to allow a seamless accessibility from ground to platform where universal access is the main path for everyone.