Grande Bibliotheque

Grande Bibliotheque in Montreal, Quebec, Canada by Christian de Portzamparc, 2001

The following text and images are translated from the web page of Christian de Portzamparc, his competition entry for the Grande Bibliotheque in Montreal, Quebec (won by Canada's Patkau Architects).

We have, with Elizabeth de Portzamparc, conceived this library project around the interior of a vast volume, a public place illuminated and heated during the long winter months of Montreal.

Elizabeth de Portzamparc developed an urban passage on two levels, accessible from the street and the underground network, opening on to a broad park. This interior street distributes typically open spaces in permanence: conference centers, exhibition spaces, newspaper kiosks, children's play areas, internet cafes etc...

Christian de Portzamparc imagined the large volume of surface and light like an aquarium with four "fish": the two largest, suspended and containing spaces of controlled access; the smaller two, installations on the ground, shelter public space on the sidewalk.

At a time when one notices that public spaces everywhere are formed from the places of trade and entertainment, the Grande Bibliotheque represents a chance to imagine a great public place in Montreal, open 24 hours, created around a program of culture.