Îlot Balmoral - National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Headquarters | The Plan
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Îlot Balmoral - National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Headquarters

The Red Cleft


Îlot Balmoral - National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Headquarters
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -
Schüco has participated in the project

Once there were cities. There still are: places undergoing constant change, their metabolism triggering phase after phase of destruction and reconstruction according to laws we sometimes, but not always, recognize. There are times when all we can do is stand by and observe events taking place that have not been included in any plan; on other occasions, events unfold according to a carefully drafted and executed sequence. As Jane Jacobs so accurately pointed out in her essay of 1961 - a classic work that anyone concerned with architecture should have read - great cities live and die; rise and fall. However, some 60 years on, we can now also add that all great cities - be they American or otherwise - have undergone and continue to undergo transformational change. Moreover, the metropolises of the world mold themselves in ways that reflect who we are. So, it is up to us to ensure that this process, triggered by an intricate array of strategies and coincidence, take place in the best possible way, for us and future generations.

Sometimes it just takes a good architectural project to kickstart a city neighborhood, giving it a new lease of life and better prospects. Montréal’s so-called Quartier des Spectacles has benefitted from a project by Provencher_Roy that has done just that to this downtown neighborhood whose deterioration over the last 20 years had turned it into a no-go area. This famous Canadian architecture firm had already on several occasions proved its ability to revamp forgotten or simply neglected areas. One of their most brilliant achievements was the rehabilitation of the Grand Quai at Montréal harbor.

The practice’s co-founder Claude Provencher holds an obvious profound affection for Québec’s largest metropolis with a clear objective: making a difference through architecture. On the condition, however, that the architecture produced be more than just esthetically valid - even if, for...

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