One with Nature: Collège de Maisonneuve’s Interior Garden

This garden, located in the heart of the Collège de Maisonneuve in Montréal, was redeveloped to make the area more user-friendly, functional, and organized, for students and the general public.

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

At the heart of the Collège de Maisonneuve in Montréal, lies a large sunken garden under a glass roof.

The original garden was created in 1972 as a result of expansions made to the building as well as a Brutalist-style courtyard that was created between the two pavilions. The addition of the glass roof transformed the  five-storey space into an all-weather greenhouse that is accessible year-round. The garden has since become a hub for students to gather due to its lush greenery and mature trees.

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

The aim of the 9,000-sq.-ft. garden’s redevelopment, by a team that included C2V Architecture, Taktik Design and others, was to ensure the area would be user-friendly, functional, and organized. It also aimed to become a place for students to study and socialize as well as a place for public events in the evenings and on weekends.

The central area features modular furniture which offers versatility and the possibility of adding a stage if required for certain events. Most of the concrete flooring was replaced with cobblestones, and an irrigation system was installed to facilitate the maintenance of the garden.

The lighting system was completely refurbished and now adjusts itself automatically according to seasonal variations in luminosity. A chill-out zone allows students to take a break in the shade of a palm tree. The old waterfall, which was transformed into low Corten steel walls by the team of Albert Mondor and Wallemi, create an oasis of tranquility surrounded by vegetation.

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

Wooden decks and structures define the subspaces and render the area to human-scale. At the north end of the garden, C2V Architecture added a polished concrete mezzanine. On the roof of the mezzanine, the largest of the four wooden structures overhangs the site. Custom-made, multi-functional furniture made of Douglas fir, Corten steel, and galvanized steel embody the project’s vision of sustainability. Additionally, 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 large murals that contain vivid colours and free-form shapes, which offset the Brutalist traits of the space and add brightness.

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

A pigeon, which is common to Montréal, was chosen as the garden’s totem animal. Some 40 sculpted pigeons dot the space, and bring added colour while incorporating a touch of playfulness.

Originally an experiment, this project has come into its own over the years thanks to the participation of several key players. The project also stays true to the concept of biophilia, which is Taktik’s flagship concept that “inspires us to continue imagining vast green spaces in tomorrow’s institutions with the goal of breathing more light, pure air, and life into the daily lives of students.”

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet
Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet