Collège de Maisonneuve – Interior Garden | Montreal Canada

At the heart of the Collège de Maisonneuve lies a unique and hidden gem: a large sunken garden under a glass roof that provides lush greenery and an incomparable living area. However, the space needed an upgrade to magnify all that the garden has to offer.

The garden was first established in 1972 during the expansion of the building and the creation of a courtyard in the Brutalist style between the two pavilions. The installation of a glass roof turned this five-story courtyard into a greenhouse that can be accessed throughout the year, regardless of the weather. As time passed, the garden has grown into a gorgeous oasis of lush greenery and mature trees, which has made it a popular spot among students.

Light, grandiosity, and the predominance of plants were at the forefront of the conception of the renewed interior layout, providing a vast green space for people to use. The aim was to create a piece of immersive art combining the benefits of greenery with the pleasures of the human experience.

The redevelopment aimed to make the area more user-friendly, functional, and organized so that larger numbers of people could take advantage of it. For students, this environment would become a place for studying, replenishing one’s energy, socializing, and resting during the week. In the evenings and on weekends, various events open to the public would take place. The primary consideration was to create a space where diverse worlds could come together under one roof.

The central area comes equipped with modular furniture, offering the versatility needed to host many events, with the possibility of adding a stage if required. Most of the concrete flooring was replaced with cobblestones, and an irrigation system was installed to facilitate the maintenance of the garden. For the visual comfort of its users, the lighting system was completely refurbished and now adjusts itself automatically according to seasonal variations in luminosity.

A chill-out zone, set back from the action and featuring wooden deckchairs, allows students to take a break in the shade of a palm tree. At the foot of this configuration is the old waterfall, which was transformed into low Corten steel walls by the team of Albert Mondor and Wallemi, creating an oasis of tranquility surrounded by vegetation where one can take in a breath of fresh air.

Wooden decks and structures define the subspaces, rendering the area to human-scale. The mortise-and-tenon joints recall the ingenuity of hands-on craftsmanship. At the north end of the garden, C2V Architecture added a polished concrete mezzanine, enabling two additional layouts. On the roof of the mezzanine, the largest of the four wooden structures overhangs the site, offering fresh perspectives and reinforcing the versatility of the environment. The area under the mezzanine becomes a new collaborative room surrounded by windows overlooking the multi-level landscaping and design of Chantale de Menezes.

Custom-made, multi-functional furniture made of Douglas fir, Corten steel, and galvanized steel embodies the project’s sustainability vision. Forest green was chosen as the sole colour of the furniture in order to match the greenery of the site. This also gave way to artist Jason Cantoro and his creation of three enormous murals, rich in vivid colours and free-form shapes, offsetting the Brutalist traits of the space and adding brightness, joy, and a positive spark to the inner surroundings.

A pigeon, common to Montreal, was chosen as the garden’s totem animal. Some forty sculpted pigeons dot the space, bringing added colour while cohabiting with the users and imbuing a touch of playfulness to their day. Initially an experiment, this project has come into its own over the years thanks to the participation of several key players who’ve lent their imaginations to help reshape it.

The project also stays true to Taktik’s flagship concept of biophilia. It inspires us to continue imagining vast green spaces in tomorrow’s institutions to breathe more light, pure air, and life into students’ daily lives.

Collège de Maisonneuve – Interior Garden

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Client: Collège de Maisonneuve

Project Manager: Noémie Giroux-Carpentier

Collaborators: Nicola Tardif-Bourdages, Cynthia Papineau and Jonathan Allen

Photographer: Maxime Brouillet

Suppliers

Architecture: C2V Architecture
Landscape: Chantale de Menezes et Albert Mondor
Interior Design: Taktik Design
Main Contractor: AGL Construction
Wood Structures: Harkins
Lighting: BEGA and Technilum, distributed by EDP
Horticulturists: Wallemi
Irrigation: Irrigation Charron
Custom Furniture: Taktik Réalisation
Murals: Jason Cantoro
Pigeon Sculptures: Atelier Décor 3d
Cabinetmaker: L.I.S.T.
Graphic Printing: Jean-Yves Arcand

Photography: Maxime Brouillet

About Damian Holmes 3313 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/