Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

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The city of Montreal recently announced the winners of a design competition launched last year to find a concept that would properly honour 21 women from Montreal - artist and CUST PhD student Angela Silver and firms Lemay and SNC-Lavalin were chosen by an 11-person jury because of their concept’s “serenity, calmness, and poetry.'

Angela describes the overall concept as two radically different topographies merge in an exploration of Montreal-inspired subtleties: the place of women at the heart of the city’s evolution, and the energy of the contemporary user. These two environments frame a series of thresholds, of multiple scales, engaging the site and its users.

A landscaped slope rises towards the south to define the horizon and frame the Administrative City. The inclined setting rests gently on the Champ-de-Mars site that unites the two spaces. The impressive scale of the gesture engages in a dialogue with that of the new CHUM university hospital and its surrounding monumental cityscapes. 

Topped by a flowery meadow, the slope brings to mind a bouquet of flowers thanking Montreal’s women for their contributions to its development. This urban field extends outward horizontally to unify the entire site. It transforms into an orthogonal urban grid, a rich tapestry of intimate moments between the visitor and water, light, vegetation and wind produced by the underground activity.

In a more philosophical way, the setting reflects the historically feminine work involving textiles. It recalls the evolution of women from the household to the Montreal textile industry. Through this fabric, the project evokes the varied destinies of Jeanne Mance, Marie-Joséphine Angélique, Idola Saint-Jean, Isa Roth Steinberg, Agnès Vautier, Jessie Maxwell Smith, Myra Cree and the 14 victims of the École Polytechnique. A stitch right-side-up and a stitch upside-down, the mingling of plant and mineral unite to produce a symbolic and unifying place. A work of art in honour of said women could also be integrated.

Under the folded plane a new world emerges. An expressive, inverse topography beckons the viewer on Saint-Antoine Street and the motorist emerging from the exit ramp, revealing the city from the Ville-Marie Expressway. This architectural system offers an animated, all-enveloping experience of arrival.