Montreal Grand Prix architecture and more

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The pandemic deprived Montrealers of enjoying the Grand Prix du Canada at the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack, this past June. However, when the fans return to the venue, hopefully, this fall, they will also be surprised by the beauty of the new installations whose renovation was finished this year. So impressive is the original structure from an esthetic point of view that it was awarded the Prix d’Excellence 2020 by the Ordre des architects du Quebec (OAQ). The Espace Paddock, as it is called, was designed by Les architectes FABG. The project, on the site of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack in Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau, also received the Ordre’s mention for Innovation.

Espace Paddock, the new installation for the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack was awarded the Grand prix d’excellence and Special Mention, Innovation, by the Ordre des architectes du Quebec (Photo: Steve Montpetit)

The jury was chaired by French architect Dominique Jakob (Agence Jakob+MacFarlane) and comprised actress Anne-Marie Cadieux as well as architects Dominique St-Gelais (St-Gelais Montminy & Associes architectes) and Jean-Maxime Labrecque.

The Ordre’s site describes the new facilities in these terms: “As part of a renewal agreement for the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the City of Montreal had to replace the existing temporary structures with a permanent building that meets the needs of the event. The new paddock includes garages for the teams, offices for the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the promoter, a lounge area for 5,000 people and a multimedia centre for journalists and broadcasters.”

There are some other exciting features of this unique structure, “Unlike other international Grand Prix events, the lounging areas have no outside walls and no air conditioning. The finishes are bare, solar panels provide electricity for lighting, and the building tries to make responsible use of public money. The roof structure will distinguish the Canadian edition and give it an identity based on our collective desire to make better use of one of our most important natural resources, recalling the bold structures of Expo 67 and our commitment to sustainable development.”

“Le Diamant” (Quebec City) was awarded the prize in the Cultural Building category (Photo: Stephane Groleau)

Other prizes awarded by OAQ are, in the category of Cultural Building, Project: “Le Diamant” (Quebec City). Design: Coarchitecture / in situ atelier d’architecture / Jacques Plante, architect. Client: Robert Lepage. In the category Public Institutional Building, Project: Saint-Laurent Sports Complex. Design: Saucier + Perrotte Architectes in consortium with HCMA. Client: Borough of Ville Saint-Laurent. Category Commercial/Industrial Building. Project: McGill University Emergency Power Plant. Design: Les architectes FABG. Client: McGill University.

The Saint-Laurent Sports Complex won the award in the Public Institutional Building category (Photo: Olivier Blouin)

The architects also awarded distinctions to residential—family and multi-unit—projects, both in an urban and natural setting, heritage conservation, and interior layout (renovation) categories.

McGill University Emergency Power Plant (even such utilitarian structures may be beautiful) was the best in the Commercial/Industrial Building category (Photo: Steve Montpetit)

For a detailed description of the projects being recognized by the Quebec architects you could visit this site (in French only).

By: Sergio Martinez –

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