The truest measure of any city remains the quality and diversity of the experiences it offers. With its rich mix of complementary uses, a regenerated Griffintown will become one of the world’s great waterfronts, making living, working, and dining along the Lachine Canal a routine part of Montreal life. New parks, plazas and pedestrianised streets offer a network of vibrant public spaces to be enjoyed by all. An elegant Elliptical Arcade forges a dynamic linkage between residential, retail and office elements, connecting them to the leisure amenities lining the restored Peel Basin. The water’s edge bursts with cultural riches, with a procession of performance venues and dining pavilions. Generating activity throughout the day, Griffintown will become one of North America’s most desirable leisure destinations.
Looping its way through four city blocks, the Elliptical Arcade anchor’s Griffintown’s 1 million sf retail offer. Encircling a major intersection aids its subdivision, creating distinctive shopping ‘quarters’ aligned to specific target markets. The arcade’s cross-section represents the ideal for multi-storey retail, offering clear lines of sight and abundant natural light. Measuring 26m from concourse to crystal ceiling, its staggered sides enable shoppers to survey the tiered lines of famous brands in a glance. Ringing the crossroads at the Ellipse’s centre are the winter gardens of Les Jardins du Monde, whose glass envelopes protect green spaces, impervious to the elements. Once within their tranquil interiors, guests will find inviting cafés and restaurants offering refreshments in lush surroundings.
Griffintown’s masterplan creates a cascade of cultural amenities to refresh this post-industrial waterfront. Restoring the character of the original wharves, the Market Hall spans the space between its stone dining pavilions with a distinctive timber and glass canopy to host food, flower and antiques markets. A disused swing bridge finds new life as a glazed events venue, theatrically hovering above the Lachine canal. A grand new Performance Hall combines a 1,600-seat auditorium and 400-seat concert hall beneath its swooping roofline, creating a versatile venue for a wide-ranging arts programme. All this is given a frame of reference by the Museum of the Performing Arts, recording all the city’s artistic successes, such as the famous Cirque de Soleil.
© CivicArts LLP, 2011