115 Studios - Cirque du Soleil | The Plan
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115 Studios - Cirque du Soleil

Les Architectes FABG

As an international capital of circus arts, Montreal has made a new site available to “La Cité des arts du cirque”, a non-profit organization founded by En Piste (a national association of circus arts professionals, companies and institutions), Canada’s National Circus School and the famous Cirque du Soleil. The project entails 115 studios apartments to house young athletes and artists from around the world coming to the Cirque du Soleil for short training periods before going on tour. The two volumes making up the new facility are located on the edge of the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex (CESM), a vast, 192-hectare former limestone quarry and subsequent landfill site, which, at the end of the 1980s, after receiving nearly a million tons of waste each year, became the focus of the most extensive environmental rehabilitation project ever undertaken by Montreal. The result was a vast urban park housing educational, cultural, sports, commercial and industrial facilities that are today part of the city fabric. The two buildings comprise: a first cubical volume containing services sited on 2nd Avenue in front of the Cirque’s headquarters; and a second long low structure on Jean-Rivard Street that blends with the surrounding buildings. The criss-cross floor stacking on the taller construction is further emphasised by the irregular positioning of doors and windows. The impression is of a jumble of stacked containers - a feature that resonates with the nomadic lifestyles of the occupants, and the tension that inevitably exists between artistic individualism and the tightly knit group that is a circus community. The project also explores the notion of dynamic equilibrium familiar to jugglers, contortionists, and trapeze artists. Inside, the full-height central atrium is a challenge to overcome fear of voids, as well as bringing a sense of community. Some of the studio apartments can be combined to form suites. Communal areas include living rooms, balconies, fitness...

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