Saint-Laurent’s new library

The Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, Christine St-Pierre, the Mayor of Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, and the Mayor of Saint-Laurent and Vice-Chair of the City of Montréal Executive Committee, Alan DeSousa, have announced the winner of the Quebec-wide architectural competition for Saint-Laurent’s new library. Also present at the announcement were Helen Fotopulos, who is responsible for culture, heritage and the status of women on Montréal’s Executive Committee, and Lise Bissonnette, Chair of the competition jury.


The chosen project was submitted by the team composed of Cardinal Hardy/Labonté Marcil/Éric Pelletier Architectes en consortium/SDK et associés inc./Leroux Beaudoin Hurens et associés inc.


“I would like to congratulate the winning team,” said Minister St-Pierre. “It will have the marvellous task of designing a space dedicated to knowledge—an ideal place where users can develop a taste for reading and become attuned to culture. By incorporating premises reserved for the exhibition and conservation of works of art, the library will truly serve as an environment adapted to the needs of Borough of Saint-Laurent residents.”


“Not only are our libraries key sites that enhance neighbourhood life for Montrealers, they play an essential role in strengthening Montréal as a city of knowledge and culture,” stated Mr. Tremblay. “And while we have focused over the last few years on making our libraries more accessible and enriching their holdings, we also know that the quality of our libraries’ architecture plays a crucial role in ensuring that Montrealers take pride in using them.”


“I congratulate the competition winners, whose proposal responds to the vision of the project that we had set for ourselves and that is based on a thorough study of our community’s needs and of the wishes voiced by citizens during the consultation process,” expressed Mr. DeSousa. “On behalf of Saint-Laurent Borough Council, I would like to thank the jury and the technical committee, who undertook their task brilliantly.”


 “With Montréal being a UNESCO-designated City of Design, I am delighted that we have architectural competitions such as this one for the new Saint-Laurent library,” added Ms. Fotopulos. “These competitions allow us to enhance the quality of our built heritage while also calling on the creative genius of our home-grown talents.”


“All of the four finalists submitted proposals that were highly noteworthy from an architectural standpoint,” said Ms. Bissonnette. “However, the winning project presented the best combination of assets in terms of the building’s functionality and its ability to integrate easily into its urban and natural environments.”


Description of the winning project


In compliance with Montréal’s policy on sustainable development for municipal buildings, the project is aiming to obtain LEED “Gold” certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).


A true cultural gathering place, the new building will include, in addition to the library, an exhibition space as well as the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec’s collection conservation centre. The building will consolidate the role of the Boulevard Thimens civic axis and also help enhance the value of the Parc Marcel-Laurin woodland by providing it with a new point of entry.


The wi
nning team, for its part, stated: “The new Saint-Laurent library is a place where users will feel a sense of ownership—of knowledge, of culture, of the site itself—as well as discovery. This isn’t a project about architecture alone: it’s also about landscape. Located between Boulevard Thimens and Parc Marcel-Laurin, the new library integrates into the site by drawing on the major elements of the park. As such, the building connects the city with the surrounding landscape, and serves as a point of connection that allows users to explore its site—inside and outside, from Boulevard Thimens as well as from the park. Visitors will discover the building by approaching it from a variety of spaces both intimate and dramatic, spaces that, by offering a variety of access pathways, set the stage for the site as well as for its users.”


The other finalists


The jury and technical committee studied three other proposals, submitted by the following teams:


·         ACDF * architecture (Allaire Courchesne Dupuis Frappier architectes)/ SNC Lavalin/CLA ingénieurs

·         Chevalier Morales Architectes/Les Architectes FABG/Tecsult-AECOM inc.

·         Provencher Roy + associés/Anne Carrier Architectes en consortium/Les consultants S.M. inc./Bouthillette Parizeau et associés inc.


The jury met in Saint-Laurent this past December 9 and 10. In addition to Ms. Bissonnette, the jury consisted of Jean-Pierre Chupin, architect and full professor at the Université de Montréal; Marie-Claude Le Sauteur, architect, representing the Borough of Saint-Laurent; Claude Létourneau, architect; Éric Paquet, urbanist, representing the Borough of Saint-Laurent; Peter Soland, architect and landscape architect; and Lise Tremblay, architect and LEED-accredited professional.


Public information session


The winning project will be presented to the general public at an information session at the Centre des loisirs de Saint-Laurent on February 15, 2010, at 7 p.m. Until then, drawings of the winning project as well as those of the three other finalists can be viewed on the website dedicated to the new library at:


Next steps


According to the established schedule, the winning firm will develop the plans and specifications for the new building throughout 2010. Construction will begin in 2011 and continue into 2012. The building is slated to open at the end of 2012.


Project costs


The project is receiving financial support from the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine and the Ville de Montréal under the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal 2008-2011 (2008-2011 agreement on Montréal’s cultural development).


Library and exhibition space

$25.5 million

-Agreement on cultural development (MCCCF-Ville de Montréal): $14,033,000

-Forum on cultural facilities: $990,000

-Borough of Saint-Laurent: $10,477,000

Museum conservation collection centre

$4.15 million

-Capital assistance (MCCCF): $3,550,000

-Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec: $600,000