REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH/ EXTR U D I N G T H E PUBL I C R EA L M O F T HE CITY ‘ BE LOW ’
REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH/ EXTR U D I N G T H E PUBL I C R EA L M O F T HE CITY ‘ BE LOW ’
SHELLEY LUDMAN MCGILL UNIVERSITY, 2011 Master of Architecture Professional Program Design Studio Directed Research (DSR) Fall 2010 / Winter 2011 Advisors: Nik Luka + Howard Davies
Abstract The public realms of contemporary pluralistic urban societies, awash as they are in information-driven multimedia, are marked by unresolved tensions. We need to address traditional Euro-American notions of public space as expressions of personal and community identity within the city. An initial interest in the relationships of identity and city led to the study of what has been called ‘sense of place’ and how one’s subjective and personal understanding of a moment in space and time can affect one’s interpretation, experience, and knowledge of what is construed as objectively ‘real’ space. A further exploration into the concept of place, and more specifically how it can be related to Montreal, led to the decision to focus on Montreal’s Underground City - an intricate indoor network of pathways and connections. Following a comprehensive diagnostic of existing conditions within the network, the question arose as to whether or not ‘sense of place’ can be used as an architectural notion to create an environment that encourages spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated, and if so, how?
The overall intention of the project is to use architecture as a means of renegotiating the relationship between the unseen layers of the city. As a result, the architectural proposition exposes Montreal’s Underground City, drawing attention to its various components and forces, while simultaneously compressing different programs and users into one specific zone. The simple gesture of revealing what lies beneath the ground plane is rendered more dynamic through the introduction of three diverse typologies – building, infrastructure and public space. Materiality and vertical connections, as well as the intersections of building and circulation, begin to create visual, physical and audible cues. The complex volumetric relationships that would otherwise go unseen begin to appear through the comprehensive blending of program, skin and structure, and allow notions of spectacle, diversity and uncertainty to begin animating the site.
OPPOSITE: diagrammatic section/ montreal’s diverse layers
schematic design proposed intervention review feedback dérive mental mapping existing conditions double occupancy knuckle
M O N T R E A L’ S UNDERGROUND C I T Y
1 0 PRELIMINARY PROPOSITION 10
MCGILL COLLEGE AV E N U E
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 10
public space/ public realm/ public domain place/ sense of place temporality
site approach final project
FINALDESIGN PROPOSITION 10
CONTENTS URBAN VS. NODAL S I T E SPECIFICITY1 0 PRECEDENTS BIBLIOGRAPHY nodal site deux-montagnes train tunnel retail concourse david macaulay
Introduction The Directed Research Project is intended as a yearlong, twosemester, final design studio for those completing their Master of Architecture. Following a schedule of monthly informal presentations, with two more formal reviews at the end of December and April, the project was able to evolve and grow throughout the year, following a somewhat atypical trajectory. This book is intended as a means of summarizing the past year, and synthesizing the project in its entirety.
within the city, this project developed as an investigation of complex yet concealed relationships within the city. Whether or not â€˜sense of placeâ€™ could be used as an architectural notion to create an environment that encourages spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated developed as the fundamental basis for the project.
BELOW: conceptual model/ existing site condition/ colloquium september 2010 OPPOSITE : conceptual models/ proposed intervention/ colloquium september 2010
Originating in ideas of identity, temporality and public space
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public space: an atmosphere of sociability, a sphere of spontaneous encounter with the other
(Cupers + Miessen 35)
place: places are marked by identity, social relations and history, while non-places have no identity and are difficult to define in social or historical terms (Hajer + Reijndrop 45)
the sphere of social relations going beyond our own circle of friendships, and of family and professional relations
places where an exchange between different social groups is possible and also actually occurs
(Hajer + Reijndrop 11)
(Hajer + Reijndrop 12)
sense of place: an innate faculty, possessed in some degree by everyone, that connects us to the world; a thread that ties each of us to our surroundings (Relph 208)
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placelessness: our lives are so place-oriented and place-saturated that we cannot begin to comprehend, much less face up to, what sheer placelessness would be like. for just this reason, we rarely pause to consider what being no place or having no place might mean (Casey ix)
Several conceptual or theoretical ideas offer insight into the wider forces acting behind the proposed thesis dilemma: the discrepancies between public space, the public realm and public domain; the notion of place, and sense of place; and finally, the idea of temporality within an urban, architectural context. Whether it is published texts and articles, or heated class discussions, a critical synthesis of each of these terms can be made. PUBLIC SPACE/PUBLIC REALM/ PUBLIC DOMAIN/ Maarten Hajer and Arnold Reijndrop offer one of the most thorough discussions on the discrepancies that exist in relation to the terms associated to public space. Their book, “In Search of New Public Domain,” attempts to outline the difference between public space, public realm and public domain. The three terms can be synthesized as follows:
Public space: spaces that are accessible to people at all times Public realm: spaces where one encounters difference
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Public domain: where exchange is possible and actually occurs; sites of shared experiences Additionally, Hajer and Reijndrop highlight the versatility of the three terms, relating them to several secondary concepts: nonplaces, liminality, animation, etc. These relationships emphasize the universality of the terms. The larger question that arises though is whether one can create public spaces that accommodate and nourish public domain. Essentially, whether it is possible for a space that is constantly accessible to people to simultaneously encourage and facilitate exchange.
EDWARD CASEY/ EDWARD RELPH/ GUY DEBORD/ KEVIN
REIJNDROP/ MARK KINGWELL/ PATRICK TURMEL/ MERLEAU-PONTY/ KEVIN LYNCH/ FLORIAN HAYDN/ ROBERT TEMEL/ GADAMER/ SHARON ZUKIN/ DAVID L.
PLACE/SENSE OF PLACE/ Edward Relph is one of the more prominent figures within the discourse regarding sense of place. His brief, yet meticulous analysis of the subject can be found in the Susan Hanson edited “Ten Geographic Ideas that Changed the World.” Interesting to note about his text, is that a large portion of it is spent discussing the difficulties in defining ‘sense of place.’ He associates this difficulty to the fact that “sense of place is first of all an innate faculty, possessed in some degree by everyone, that connects us to the world” (1997: 209). The individuality of the term makes it difficult to define and subsequently suggests that one attempt to formulate a personal understanding of it. Philosopher Edward Casey presents a more theoretical approach to the idea of place in his text “Getting Back into Place – towards a renewed understanding of the place-world.” Casey clearly states that “to be in the world,
to be situated at all, is to be in place. Place is the phenomenal particularization of ‘being-in-theworld” (2009: xv). This statement supports Relph’s difficulty in defining sense of place as place becomes something inherent and natural. One can also take note of Marc Augé’s thoughts on the topic. Augé however, focuses his discussion on a term that is sometimes deemed the opposite of place, while at other times is accused of being too ambiguous as a ‘non-idea.’ Augé’s idea of “non-place,” as it offers a counterargument to place, forces one to truly question what both terms mean, and the ramifications that they have on society. In an attempt to amalgamate the above-mentioned ideas, one can conclude that places are in fact spaces that allow people opportunities to attach individual or collective senses of meaning – whether it be cultural, geographical or personal.
IDENTITY TIME SENSE OF PLACE
day | night seasonality temporality permanence
contained exploded diverse hybrid system
INTERACT OBSERVE PARTICIPATE
APPROPRIATE SPACE ENGAGE THE INDIVIDUAL
UNDERSTAND S T I M U L AT E EXPERIENCE REMEMBER
RECREATION TOURISM GASTRONOMY ARTS+FESTIVALS COMMERCIAL
TEMPORALITY/ The final concept that must be explored in order to truly understand the larger question at hand is the idea of temporality. More specifically, how time can affect an architectural project or space. Yet again, a text by Edward Relph, “Temporality and the Rhythms of Sustainable Landscapes,” offers an interesting perspective on the subject. Relph defines temporality as “the livedexperience of time that precedes any notion of quantitative clock time; it is the dense association of memory, present awareness and expectation that, among
other things, integrates us into landscapes” (2004: 113). An interesting factor to note is how Relph so intimately relates the notion of time to landscape (or setting) and subsequently to memory. The correlation between temporality and sense of place emerges through Relph’s definition, as he suggests the importance of associating meaning to experiences. It may also be interesting to note how the concept of temporality becomes a lens through which to understand both previously mentioned concepts: sense of place and public realm.
Can public space act as a generative medium through which one’s sense of place within the city can be strengthened, and if so, how?
OPPOSITE: sense of place diagram/ colloquium september 2010 ABOVE: program diagram/ colloquium september 2010
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Can ‘sense of place’ be used as an architectural notion that would subsequently create an environment that encourages spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated?
Montreal’s Underground City
therine Oues t
Place Montréal Trust
ave. McGill College
Complexe Les Ailes
toine Oues t
SQUARE-VICTORIA Stock Exchange Tower
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A further investigation into the notion of place, and more specifically how it can be related to Montreal, led to Montreal’s Underground City – an intricate indoor network of pathways and connections. Initially, the system seemed to lack any ‘place-qualities’ – moments where one could attach individual or collective senses of meaning. However, after a thorough investigation, a comprehensive list of existing conditions within the network was deduced, and a more accurate depiction and understanding of the system could be made. Montreal’s Underground City seemed highly utilitarian, and as a result, made it difficult for the user to establish an identity for the system. Similarly, the existing
Palais des Congres
Grande Bibliothèque du Québec
rue Sainte-Catherine Est
PLACE BONAVENTURE Bell Center
boulevard De Maisonneuve Est
boulevard René-Levesque Ouest
rue Sherbrooke Ouest
boulevard René-Levesque Est
World Trade Center
programmatic typologies (shopping, eating and pedestrian traffic) fell short of being dynamic or stimulating, and subsequently became regular and typical – supporting the already generic environment. In order to gain a thorough, non-biased, understanding of the network, a mental map and “dérive” exercise was implemented. The exercise consisted of three parts: the mental map, the derive, and the derive map. A group of 12 individuals were asked to draw a map (from memory) of Montreal’s Underground City. This task was intended to deduce a variety of preconceived ideas of the system.
OPPOSITE: mental map exercise/ take 15 minutes and draw a map from memory of montreal’s underground city
rue De la Montagne
uy eG ru
ATWATER Westmount Square
DĂŠrive: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences; wander, ramble, walk, stroll, drift
The second assignment involved starting at Place Ville Marie and walking through the network for 30-60 minutes taking 24 photos. This exercise was intended to capture, through photography, anything striking or memorable that may have caught the eye of the individual.
16 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / montrealâ€™s underground city
Lastly, the post-dĂŠrive map was intended as a means of deducing whether people remembered their journey through their experience or the photos.
18 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / montreal’s underground city
Following these three exercises, a catalogue of the “existing condition” of the underground city was deduced. Studying these existing conditions, it quickly became apparent that there are several ‘flaws’ associated to the underground city. In a more general sense, one can conclude that the primary problem is that the network is unengaged from the public realm above – offering minimal, if any, opportunities for interaction between the various ‘layers’ of the city.
timelessness; inability to guage the time of day
sheltered from outdoor elements/weather
layers: distance between surface and underground is either small or large and complex
vacant corridors during â€˜off hoursâ€™
genericness of the existing programs
fragmented journey due to vertical changes
entrances to metro are through existing buildings
empty food courts before/after the lunch rush
These striking conditions brought forward two pertinent questions: whether the generic spaces of the underground city could be rendered more dynamic and as a result afford an understanding (or making) of place; and how one could create an environment that encourages spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated.
ABOVE: inventory of underground cityâ€™s existing condition
UND ERGROUND CITY | INDO O R CITY
LO O K AT T H E S YS T E M : PAT H S A S W E LL A S Z OOM I NG I N ON P R E C I SE AC T I V I T I E S 3 E X I S T I N G P ROGR A M S EAT I N G , S H O P P I N G , P E D E S T R I A N M OV E M E N T
In an attempt to resolve how architecture can create an environment that is more demanding of the user and encouraging of new H I GH LY GE N E R I Cof meaning, a variety of experiences, while affording the mapping L AC K O F DY NA M I S M themes were explored. These themes were MI NI MAL O P P O RT U NI T I E S F O R M E A N I Nthen G F U L Edistilled X P E R I E N C E Sinto three distinct typologies – each implying a different architectural intervention.
C R EATE A N EN VIRO NME NT T H AT I S MO R E HOW TO R E S TO R E T H E
C OEXISTEN CE
J U XTAPO SI T I O N
D EMAND ING O F T H E U S E R ; M O R E ENG AG ING F O R / W I T H T H E M . DY NAMISM ? T H E E XC I T E M E N T ? T H E I N T R I G U E ?
UNINTENTIONA L ITY
20 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / montreal’s underground city
D OUB LE OCCUPANCY
R A D IC A L IS M
S PAC E S O F U N C E RTA I N T Y
In terms of DOUBLE OCCUPANCY, one can begin to question whether the introduction of a radically different program typology could “excite” the energy within the network. One can then begin to notice that the Indoor City clearly has distinct hours of operation, more specifically, active and passive times (day/ night, weekend/weekday, etc.). What these radical programs
D I S C OV E RY
C OLLI SI ON
ME NTA L MA P S D É R IV E
may be, and whether they can be introduced during the “off” hours, remains the question for investigation. If one looks into the Boros Art Gallery in Berlin, originally a bomb shelter, converted into a fruit market, then night club and now art gallery, one can begin to imagine how a space can transform depending on the function, and how a space can evolve over time.
ABOVE: diagram/ themes leading to architectural intervention OPPOSITE ABOVE: knuckle/ proposed interventions OPPOSITE BELOW: double occupancy/ proposed interventions
C ONT I NU I T Y
21 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / montrealâ€™s underground city
The idea of the KNUCKLE is quite simple: essentially, moments where life above ground and life below ground can interact. This interaction may be positive, negative, frightful, exciting, mysterious, etc. Regardless of the emotion, it becomes evident that one may not always want to know what is on the â€œother side.â€? As one begins to map elements above and below ground, and notice their interaction, specific sites may emerge naturally. Similarly, if one focuses on the existing program elements of the Indoor City, and the components that are not typically seen by the general public, another opportunity for intervention may appear. Saint-Peters Church in New York City and the Bebelplatz Memorial in Berlin are both examples of moments when the relationship between above and below is emphasized and as a result, creates an experience that was unexpected.
-2 FOOD COURTS
TRANSIT METRO + TRAIN
Choosing a site within the city that spoke both to the underground concourses as well as to pedestrian life at street level was crucial. McGill College Avenue, a prominent north south axis at the nexus of Montrealâ€™s downtown core, not only lacks the energy and animation that exists along Sainte-Catherine street but is a site created from a complex layering of diverse unseen forces as well. Flanked by Place Ville Marie to the south and McGill University campus to the north, the street was historically intended as a grand boulevard extending between its two extremities. (brief history)
The existing state of McGill College Avenue at grade, parallels the generic qualities that were deduced for the underground city. The grandeur and scale of the street invites the potential for new programming opportunities. As a result, the avenue becomes an ideal setting for an architectural intervention that will begin to activate a narrative both above and below the ground plane.
BELOW: view looking south/ mcgill college ave. OPPOSITE: exploded view/ mcgill college ave.
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McGill College Avenue
fig. 1 fig. 3
FIGURE 1: view up mcgill college avenue/ 1860 FIGURE 2: cn tunnel/ 1918 FIGURE 3: original pvm proposal by IM Pei/ pedestrian ramp extending to mcgill college/ 1957 FIGURE 4: south section of pvm/ 1957 FIGURE 5: MACE master plan/ 1965 OPPOSITE: site plan/ mcgill college ave.
2200 MCGILL COLLEGE
25 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / mcgill college avenue
BNP PARIBAS TOWER
DE MAISONNEUVE BOULEVARD
1801 MCGILL COLLEGE
PLACE MONTREAL TRUST
MCGILL COLLEGE TOWER
PLACE VILLE MARIE
COMPLEXE LES AILES
Preliminary Proposition SCHEMATIC DESIGN/
horizontal slit and mediation between the two.
Following notions of hidden complexities and the interface – a point where two systems meet and interact – several iterations were developed throughout the schematic design phase. Programmatically, an attempt was made to simultaneously address life at street level, life within the underground network and the various people that move through the system every day. In terms of form and circulation, three different scales were explored: building as nodal point, as portal and as connection. Subsequently, there are three ways for a volume to bridge the layers of the street: a vertical puncture, a more gradual nodal point
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for the community
The three schematic designs, or interface nodes, respond both to the relationship between the layers, as well as an existing ‘fault’ or condition of the underground city - unseen forces, the feeling of being abruptly dislocated from the ground place and finally, time and weather. “Unseen Forces” has an exterior skin animated by the passing train three levels below; the tilt of “Abrupt Dislocation” allows one to gradually progress downwards at an individual pace; and finally, the patterned glass volume of “Time + Weather” allows for a reciprocal relationship to be created between the interior and exterior spaces.
to the underground
ABOVE: conceptual diagrams OPPOSITE: schematic design propositions
responding to/ the siteâ€™s unseen forces
responding to/ dislocation from the ground plane
responding to/ time + weather
ABOVE: physical model/ scale 1:500 BELOW: site approach/ parti diagram
This phase of the project appropriated the entire street in a more general sense - in an attempt to resolve a functional master plan. In an attempt to create a symbiotic relationship between the street, the underground network and the siteâ€™s forces, the ground plane was dislocated, subsequently exposing various site features. Each intervention attempts to address both the street level and the underground in a unique manner - whether it be diving or disappearing into the ground, existing between the various underground levels, slightly protruding out of the ground or even hovering over the street. This diversity allows the user to
constantly be placed in a different relationship to both the ground plane and the underground. Entering off Sherbrook street one is immediately brought underground. Between President Kennedy and St Catherine, one is confronted by various opportunities to engage with both street level and the underground. At st catherine, one is brought up, off the street, distancing oneself from the underground network and allowing for a unique view back onto the city. Ultimately, the hope is to reengage the underground city as a means to create an environment that allows spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated.
29 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / preliminary proposition
LED’S ANIMATED BY PASSING METRO
N W DE MAISONNEUVE DO S
LED lights animated by passing metro or train
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green living wall to create a dialogue between mount-royal and the subtle curve of the train tunnel
LIVING WALL CUT ALONG LINE OF TRAIN TUNNEL
METRO PEEL >
LED’S ANIMATED BY PASSING METRO
< METRO MCGILL
< EATON CENTER
MONTREAL TRUST >
SAINTE-CATHERINE < PARKING GARAGE
video screens relaying a live streaming video of life above/below
de maisonneuve boulevard
president kennedy avenue
BELOW: site section/ proposed intervention
underground access to mcgill university campus
32 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / preliminary proposition
why more underground? reasons for the original decision/ strengthen the north|south axis of the network create opportunities for new unique programs that respond to being underground potential new approach/ there are already so many pathways and corridors there is really no sense in adding more instead, expose the existing while creating new exterior spaces at grade
architectural response is too episodic/piecy/chunky build models re-evaluate the scale of the street (see above) and the scale of the project/intervention
should you choose a different site? one that is more connected to the underground reasons for the original decision/ mcgill college is an extruded example of the qualities/criticisms of the underground city it was intended as a case study for similar potential interventions potential new approach/ the reasoning for choosing the site still holds true also, the new discovery of the interplay between scales reinforces staying commited to mcgill college as a site
33 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / preliminary proposition
place ville marie plaza
connection to place ville marie + central station
are you killing the street by taking people off of it? reasons for the original decision/ the pathways are existing; therefore the intent was not to draw people off the street, but populate the pathways potential new approach/ intervention must have a presence in the underground; at street level it must act as the link between life above and life below grade
re-examine the atypical scale of mcgill college investigate other street sections to get a better sense of the street compare mcgill college to other montreal (or foreign) streets with similar intentions explore various treatments of montreal streets: laissez-faire, festival, utilitarian
re-define the term engagement original definition/ engagement as a means of reconnecting; an environment that is more demanding of the user strengthen connections between individuals and their context; between layers of the city new definition/ engagement as invitation establish a concrete definition
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As a means of addressing various questions raised at the December review, the decision to focus on one very specific nodal site, as opposed to an entire street, was made. In order to hone in on this precise location, a detailed analysis of McGill College Avenue and its subterranean forces needed to occur. This investigation subsequently exposed three key moments tucked below the surface of the street (moving north to south): the metro and train lines
crossing under De Maisonneuve, the dislocated intersection of the train tunnel and pedestrian retail concourse and their subsequent proximity to the street, and finally, the complex vertical stacking of programs and movement at Place Ville Marie. Any three of these moments could have been chosen, however it was the unique condition of a train tunnel and pedestrians crossing at such proximity though completely unaware, that ultimately made the final decision.
ABOVE: crossing of train tunnel and pedestrian retail concourse/ 3d view OPPOSITE: site plan/ mcgill college avenue/ nodal moments
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Urban vs. Nodal Site Specificity
Now that a site had been finalized, a thorough investigation of the various forces had to occur. First, a set of models were built in an attempt to better understand the physical relationship between the surface, the passerrelle and the train tunnel. A detailed exploration of the Deux-Montagnes train line was the following strategy. Focusing both on the history of the tunnel that secretly cuts through MountRoyal as well as the journey while on the train, a better understanding of the train was developed.
OPPOSITE: physical model/ underground city network/ scale 1:3500
LEFT + RIGHT: historic photos of train line BELOW: still images extracted from a video of the train ride between central station + canora
OPPOSITE: physical model/ underground city network/ scale 1:3500
37 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / urban vs. nodal site specificity
ABOVE: tunnel through mount-royal
ABOVE: retail concourse/ place montreal trust BELOW: retail concourse/ eaton center OPPOSITE ABOVE: diagram/ underground schedule and occupancy OPPOSITE BELOW: diagram/ relating train line to site
39 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / urban vs. nodal site specificity
Monitoring pedestrian flow through the underground retail concourse allowed for a specific mapping of schedule and speed below the surface, thus allowing the information gathered about the train to be related to that of the retail passerrelle. cars at street level pedestrians, street level pedestrians, underground train/ inbound train/ outbound
4.5 minutes 5 minutes train slows platforms becomes visible visibility increases
CENTRAL STATION 6 minutes
40 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / urban vs. nodal site specificity
A method with which to appropriate and inhabit the site can as a result of David Macaulay’s work. Following Macaulay’s unique way of visualizing and depicting the underground realm, four distinct views from WITHIN the site were extracted from a threedimensional computer model and analyzed following various contextual urban features.
The intention was to begin visualizing the images not as two-dimensional images, but instead as a complex system of relationships, exploring ideas of program, structure and surface. The final iterations of these models began to speak more of volumetric relations, tightening and opening of spaces and strong gestures; all more formal qualities that may ultimately inform an architectural language.
ABOVE: images from david maccaulay’s “underground” OPPOSITE: two views extracted from 3d model and analyzed
INSIDE THE TRAIN TUNNEL
INSIDE THE UNSEEN PRIVATE REALM (SERVICE)
41 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / urban vs. nodal site specificity
GRADUAL VS. STEEP DESCENT
SINGLE LARGE GESTURE/CUT
JUXTAPOSED OR INTERCONNECTED SPACES
SQUEEZING/ NARROWING OF INTERIOR SPACE
COMPLEMENTARY COMPONENTS TO CREATE A WHOLE
SLANTED FLOOR AND/OR CEILING
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Final Design Proposition The final design project, Revealing what lies beneath, was undertaken with the overall intention of using architecture as a means of renegotiating the relationships between the unseen layers of the city. As a result, the architectural proposition exposes Montreal’s Underground City, drawing attention to its various components and forces, and compressing different programs and users into one specific zone creating a polarity of leisure. Following an analysis of the layers that exist below the city’s ground plane, the logical response that emerged was to intervene architecturally on a site who’s multi-dimensional complexity was concealed and not obviously visible. The hope was that through the act of exposing the multi-layered intricacies, affordances for people to ‘make place’ would emerge. As a means of appropriating the site, a precise investigation of the plan of the underground spaces deduced a clear divide between served and service spaces. This boundary was subsequently used to slice through the surface and disrupt the ground plane.
ABOVE: site approach OPPOSITE: physical model/ plywood + mahogany/ scale 1:500
44 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / final design proposition
ABOVE: diagram/ program left behind RIGHT: site approach/ program OPPOSITE: physical model/ intervention/ scale 1:100
Access, circulation and outdoor spaces were then inserted becoming malleable surfaces capable of slicing, joining and intertwining the various spaces. Ultimately, complex volumetric relationships were formed,
allowing notions of spectacle, diversity and uncertainty to begin animating the site. Through the comprehensive blending of program, skin and structure, relationships that would otherwise go unseen, begin to appear. Materiality and vertical connections, as well as the intersections of building and circulation, begin to create visual, physical and aural cues. Ultimately, by exposing the unseen relationships that exist below the surface, an awareness and understanding of the network can begin to form, and hopefully reveal affordances for people to take, or make, place.
45 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / final design proposition
This gesture consequently exposes the flanking programs: circulation and green space, retail, food courts and the train tunnel. Three programmatic volumes were then inserted into the newly created void: a multiuse exhibition space and skate park, adjacent to the train tunnel extruded to the height of Place Ville Marie; a produce or market zone connecting the existing food courts; and finally, a pedestrian passerelle.
At ground level, every attempt is made to maintain both car access and pedestrian flow. Every program that was introduced below ground can be accessed directly from street level,
following a clear and obvious circulation strategy. Various materials and treatments delineate program components and corresponding access routes.
A B C D
STR EET L EV EL P L AN U N D ER GR O U N D I N TER V EN T I O N / CO N T E N T S O F VO I D SECTI O N TH R O U GH R ETAI L PA SS E RE LLE SECTI O N TH R O U GH R OAD + M A RK E T
47 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / final design proposition
MATERIALS/ TRAIN TUNNEL/
48 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / final design proposition
The general publicâ€™s awareness of the existing Deux-Montagnes train tunnel is somewhat minimal. By exposing the tunnel, one is made aware of the northsouth connection, as well as peak travel hours.
Diverse materials cross through the pedestrian passerelle delineating access to and from street level and other program volumes.
Angled towards existing parks within the downtown area, the network of green pathways creates connections between the existing flanking programs. The paths become spill out spaces for the food courts, viewing platforms and outdoor terraces.
Reinserting the original pedestrian corridor, but as an exposed passerelle, reveals the lack of open, uncovered spaces within the underground. Similarly, by maintaining the initial dimensions, the striking discrepancy between the expansive qualities of the concourses versus the restraint of the connections that link them, is brought to the forefront.
49 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / final design proposition
The disrupted road is reinstated, maintaining car flow along McGill College and adding an additional dimension of circulation to the complexity of the intervention.
Different access routes become characterized not only by materials, but through form as well. The curvature of this more organic stair allows one to gradually descend, meandering through various other volumes and programs.
Open to light wells reaching the street, this interior space is nestled between the train tunnel and Skate Park. The grandeur of the space allows it to morph between programs depending on necessity.
Gastronomy plays a prominent role within Montrealâ€™s underground city. From casual food courts to high-end restaurants, people can be found eating indoors at all hours of the day. Conversely, there are minimal destinations to purchase raw goods or be exposed to fresh produce. The advantage of creating a venue for an informal produce market, allows for convenient and efficient purchasing of fresh goods.
night view looking north on mcgill college avenue/
bottom level of intervention/
Reflection Following the reviews in April, it seemed appropriate to take some time to reflect on the past year and draw conclusions as to how the initial research was present in the final scheme. Though it may seem that the project has evolved in a fairly linear fashion, the year consisted of several parallel investigations that ultimately all lead to the most recent design proposition.
54 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH
Originating in an interest in identity and city, the overall thesis question revolved around notions of sense of place and orienting oneself within the city (space). More specifically, whether or not ‘sense of place’ could be used as an architectural notion to create an environment that encourages spatial and cultural meaning to be constructed and communicated, and if so, how? The subsequent first exploration was based on Montreal’s intricate indoor network and though the site was intended solely as a case study, its relevance to the project’s underlying concepts made it difficult to abandon. One of the primary themes that this project attempted to address is the challenge of creating public domain. As opposed to public space (spaces that are accessible
to people at all times, page 11), public domain refers to a site or venue where exchange is possible and actually occurs. This project thus attempted to push past the more conventional ‘public space’ and instead create a hub that would draw people in and allow for shared experiences. The design seeks to create a space that allows visual, physical and audible cues to coexist, thus facilitating exchange on a variety of different scales. Through a subversion of the control and hierarchy that currently exists within the complexities of city space, the project establishes itself as a more political gesture. Contrasting the existing condition of the Underground City, the design proposition allows one to place oneself within a context – a precise location with specific purpose. Once one can begin to understand the complexities that exist around them, an appreciation can develop (or evolve). Simply being made aware of something (revealing what lies beneath) has the potential to truly alter one’s understanding of a space, or in the case, the city of Montreal. Throughout the first semester, there was a constant struggle
OPPOSITE: physical model/ plywood + mahogany/ scale 1:500
O C T O B E R
J A N U A R Y
struggle with the scale of the project
with regards to the scale of the project and an appropriate intervention. Working on an urban scale proved to be quite challenging, as one attempted to balance the magnitude of the underground network with the delicacy of a precise architectural project. In the end, the proposition both enriches
struggle with mode of representation
and enlivens the city at an urban scale, while reacting at a more nodal scale, creating zones of transition, complexity and diversity.
56 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / reflection
During the second semester, a decision was made to no longer focus on an urban scale. The site specificity of the intervention not only allowed the project to develop more successfully, but also demonstrated the somewhat prototypical nature of it. Moments of subterranean complexities exist throughout the city and though the developed scheme was very particular, one can envision a network of similar interventions appearing over time throughout the city. The second phase of the project also brought forward questions of representation; more specifically, how one goes about representing the Underground City. Typically, architectural representation places the viewer on the periphery, outside of the space and somewhat disengaged. The complexity and inwardness of the Underground Network exhibits similar problems, as one is never allowed to ‘step out’ and understand the system as a whole. Finding an appropriate technique to represent what one
OPPOSITE: photos from final review/ april 2011
can never truly visualize was crucial to the project as a whole. David Macaulay’s drawings were pivotal in developing a method with which to better grasp the network of the underground and establish a means of seeing the independent zones as relationships, rather then just spaces. The final project, Revealing What Lies Beneath, attempted to synthesize the research and explorations that were undertaken over the two semesters, all the while responding to various feed-back received throughout the year. The intention was to compress different programs and users into one specific zone while exposing Montreal’s Underground City. The resulting intervention proves that a site can be animated through spectacle, diversity and uncertainty and that spatial and cultural meaning can develop as a result – responding to the question of whether ‘sense of place’ can be used as a fundamental concept behind an architecture project.
APRIL 28 2011 INVITED CRITICS/ CHRISTINA CONTANDRIOPOULOS ANDREW SILVER/KING LILY CHI VASSILIS GANIATSAS ADVISORS/ HOWARD DAVIES NIK LUKA
57 / REVEALING WHAT LIES BENEATH / reflection
1 vision division/ hollow 2 big/ forest crematorium 3 micha ullmann/ book burning monument 4 boros art gallery/ berlin 5 ball nogues studio/ build to wear 6 escher/ various drawings 7 veev design/ field rupture 8 gray organschi/ lanterns 9 mackay lyons/ sliding house 10 minsoo lee/ lightwave 11 70*N/ tourists routes 12 lea invent/ pedestrian footbridge 13 anl studio/ oceanscope 14 olson kundig/ chicken point cabin 15 isuuru arquitectos/ palace of aiete 16 atelier 9.81/ pedestrian crossing 17 rex/ museum plaza 18 rios clementi/ hollywood + vine metro 19 moshe safdie/ tel aviv airport 20 shl/ urban mediaspace 21 malcolm wells/ various drawings 22 fabio novembre/ stuart weitzman store 23 oma/ souterrain 24 oma/ les halles
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