PART 1: CCA
1 : CONTEXT
2 : CITY
3 : ARCHITECTURE
"In Montreal, as in other parts of the world, the concept of heritage has come to signify far more than just historical monuments and to encompass not only many aspects of the city's lifestyle but its different living environments. It takes a broad perspective to understand this new, vast, and diversified concept of heritage and the role it plays in an evolving city."
- City of Montreal Heritage Policy, 2005
area: 365 km²
CHAPTER 1: CONTEXT
The Canadian Centre for Architecture was founded by Phyllis Lambert in 1979 as a research centre and architecture museum in Montreal, Quebec.
The CCA was established as a vehicle to advance the understanding of architecture, both within the profession and among the general public. Through a program of public exhibitions, conferences and lectures that range in focus from historical to contemporary issues, the CCA encourages the public to actively consider the role of architecture in their lives, thereby empowering citizens to make informed choices concerning the future of the their cities.
The CCA building was completed in 1989 by architect Peter Rose with Phyllis Lambert acting as client and consulting architect. The design of the building and the landscape was aimed at improving an area overrun with highways constructed in the 1960s. The construction of the CCA building included the rescue and restoration of the historic Shaughnessy House, one of the only remaining historic 19th century greystone buildings open to the public in Montreal.
Phyllis Lambert’s vision for the CCA is described by Larry Wayne Richard in his introduction to the book Canadian Centre for Architecture: Building and Gardens. In it he writes: “She communicated to me a grand, consistent vision of a dynamic whole wherein a building, its gardens and the books, drawings, and photographs it contains ‘talk to’ and mirror one another.”
The CCA's recent public exhibitions include Archaeology of the Digital: a critical examination of the history and nature and implications of digital technology in architecture; and Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture: a look at the historical connections between health, design and the environment.
The CCA invites scholars and experts from a range of fields to use its extensive collection of archives to advance their individual research, through understanding the process and thinking behind the building, theory and criticism of architecture. The archives house rare drawings, prints, photographs, models and documents that are made available in the CCA study centre and library.
CHAPTER 2: THE CITY
At 365.1 km², the city of Montreal is the second largest in Canada, with a population of 1,650,000.
Montreal was founded in May, 1642, and named after Mont Royal, the hill located at the centre of the city. The city's historic architecture has roots in 17th century French colonial thinking: city building and land division was organized through a cadastral system.
In 2006, Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design linking it to The Creative Cities Network. This network includes cities such as Berlin, Shanghai and Buenos Aires, and is based on the concept that culture can play an important role in urban renewal.
French is the official language of Montreal, and it is the second largest primarily french-speaking city in the world after Paris.
Ground Floor Plan, Elevation
Basement Plan, Elevation
Land division - Montreal
CCA Gardens, Rendering
Architectural drawings of the CCA building, landscape and garden
9 - 9
CHAPTER 3: ARCHITECTURE IN MONTREAL
The architecture of Montreal tells the story of its history as the former financial and industrial centre of Canada. Old Montreal is the historical core of a city that boasts 50 National Historic Sites of Canada – more than any other city in the country.
Phyllis Lambert: "I was so deeply imbued in Montreal and the quality of Montreal that has greystone buildings, and that still has more greystone buildings than any other city in the country. This was characteristic of the place. I also wanted to use Quebec materials, because you know you can always import everything, especially now. But why not be able to enhance or make known the quality of materials that are here - the greystone, the black granite, or of course the wood is from our trees, maple mostly. And Peter and I had a joke that we were native also."
CCA Founding Director
and Consulting Architect
Lambert, a native Montréaler, founded the CCA in 1979 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. In its first years, the CCA operated out of Lambert’s Montréal office, until the expanding collection of of drawings, books, photographs and staff required a new home. The historical Shaughnessy House, purchased and saved from demolition by Lambert in the early 1970s, provided the ideal site on which to locate the new building.
Rose was educated at Yale University from 1965-1971, where he studied under Vincent Scully and Charles Moore. He was living in his hometown of Montreal, designing a series of post-modern vacation houses in Québec, when Phyllis Lambert hired him to design the CCA in 1981. It is his major work to date. Rose was awarded the National Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects and the Governor General's Award for Architecture in 1992 for the building.
Designer, CCA Gardens
As a Montreal-born artist-architect, Charney made significant contributions to the CCA and the city of Montréal. His winning proposal for the CCA Gardens considered the layers of urban history and traces of human passage existing on the site. It includes ten allegorical columns that evoke Montreal’s early industrial architecture.
CCA Director and Chief Curator
Zardini was hired at the CCA as Senior Consulting Curator, and was appointed Director and Chief Curator in 2005. He is an architect with a background in research, writing, and teaching. Prior to his time at the CCA, he was the editor of major architectural publications Casabella and Lotus International, and served on the editorial board of Domus.