Smith Vigeant Architects

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Discovery Center- Îles-de-Boucherville National Park

Entry Hall, Montreal (Greater Montreal)

The new Discovery and Visitors Center will act as the main reception area for visitors to the Parc National des-Iles-de-Boucherville and as a showcase building for the network of National Parks of Quebec. It stands out by being part of a philosophy of celebration for a built environment, unique, bright, high performance and respectful of its context.

In order to strengthen access to the site and the passage to the water, the anticipated building volume has been deliberately split into 2 distinct parts. This fragmented arrangement makes it possible to define a public space between the new volumes in addition to framing the central circulation axis which leads to the Channel. A place of human interaction, gathering and passage, this lively crossroads distributes, on the one hand, the functions related to discovery, and on the other, the functions related to the rental of outdoor equipment.

The undulating perimeter of the buildings harmonizes with the natural environment and encourages a fluid stroll around the built spaces. The user walks along, crosses and passes under curved surfaces to gradually discover the space. The fluid movement of the shape is further accentuated by a textured sheer curtain: a succession of wooden strips superimposed on the facing along its entire perimeter. The veil also serves as a filter for the light and produces dancing shadows on the ground in the same way as the falling foliage of the willows which adorn the site.

Inside, the organic layout continues with a sinuous crack that leads to the heart of the building: the skylight. Embellished with linear lighting in dialogue with the wavy veil on the outside, this luminous furrow enlivens the large discovery room. Since it is inclined, this striking path also allows air to be directed towards the skylight to benefit from natural ventilation.

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