What was the brief?
Place des Arts (PdA) is a joint venture project between Moriyama & Teshima Architects (MTA) and Bélanger Salach Architecture (BSA). The first multidisciplinary art centre of its kind in Northern Ontario, this cultural facility consisting of seven member arts organizationswill be an influential site of excellence for Sudbury, focused on French-Canadian culture and community empowerment.
A collaborative endeavour on all fronts, MTA with Bélanger Salach Architects, jointly served as the lead design architects for this project. Through sound and informed leadership, the two firms were together able to establish consensus amongst the 7 strong voices to achieve a flexible design that provides services for a wide variety of activities and uses, while contributing to the surrounding urban context. The building site is part of a trio of public amenities along the anticipated Elgin Street Greenway and bike path, linking the western and eastern districts of Sudbury. Greater than the sum of its parts, the architectural scheme of Place des Arts is highly intricate. The building program includes a 300-seat theatre, a multi-use studio performance space, a contemporary art gallery, library and national publishing house, boutique, bistro, daycare, and offices.
The design of Place des Arts engages with the street and sidewalk level to invite pedestrians into the facility, while reaching out to the surrounding neighbourhood with distinct, expressive façades. Each face of the building responds to and augments the character of its respective abutting cityscape, with calculated choices of materiality, pattern, and texture.
The team effort of developing Place des Arts represents a culmination of creative professionals with one shared vision, successfully producing something that can be enjoyed for generations to come. The project leaders at Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Bélanger Salach Architecture are looking forward to witnessing the numerous cultural, heritage, and artistic events that will be hosted at PdA.
What were the key challenges?
In 2008, the Summit of La Francophonie of Greater Sudbury identified the creation of a unifying cultural hub as an urgent priority. This envisioned civic space was one that could provide a special venue for the resident population and visitors alike to convene, share, and bond. The seven contributing organizations of ROCS (Regroupement des organismesculturels de Sudbury) each brought forth their own unique standpoint as to how the desired arts facility should be formed. Aligning with the Greater Sudbury Downtown Revitalization Masterplan, it was important that all member organizations were heard, to best represent their respective programs and activities as they merged into this new dynamic space.For Place des Arts, the separate Franco-Ontarian arts organizations were combined, all moving from disparate homes scattered throughout the Sudbury region into a new downtown home and cultural hub. Each partner in the project bought into a synthesizing and sharing of resources, and a flexible common space that benefited all.
What materials did you choose and why?
The material selection of Place des Arts is an expression of its location. Sudbury, once a small village in Northern Ontario several centuries ago, had drawn frontiersman to explore the region and its resources. They noticed peculiar, oxidized rock formations, which soon led to the discovery of one of the largest mineral deposits in the world. The rocky outcroppings in the Sudbury Basin are composed of 3 different rock types, each recording a unique ancient environment; tan-weathering hard sandstones of the Canadian Shield (whose tilted layers were laid down as sandbeds in ancient rivers 2.3 billion years ago), dark ridges of igneous rock (crystallized from magma that rose up along the Creighton Fault whose crater basin was formed by a prehistoric meteor impact), and pebble-rich layers of sandstone (formed by glacial debris from most recent ice-age).
The rough masonry at the base of the Place des Arts building echoes the broken rock faces and textured mine shafts of the region. The oxidized stone outcroppings that signaled the presence of ore deposits and the rusted old mine structures that dot the landscape live on in the patina of the Corten cladding of the building's exterior. Progressive stages of the Corten façade cladding during the natural weathering process means that the patina will be in a constant state of change, neither old nor new.
Glass, aluminum, and steel are the products derived from mining and modern industry. The narrative attached to the selection of each material provides the backdrop for the storyline to be retold to future generations. The building itself serves as the vessel to hold these collective memories.
A2S (Structural Engineer)
SNC Lavalin (Mechanical & Electrical Engineer)
PMA Landscape Architects (Landscape)
Colliers (Project Manager)
KAIZEN Foodservice (Food Service Design)
Marshall & Murray (Cost Consultant)
Acoustical Design (Novita Techne Ltd.)
1. Facade cladding: Weathering Steel Cladding – Rolled Form Corten – Agway Metals
Ceramic Tile – Ceragres – Domus Hexagon (Bar/Bistro)
Carpet Tile – Interface – World Woven Black Gloom (Theatre)
3. Doors: Solid core wood – Lambton – White Maple
4. Windows: Aluminum – Alumicore – Shadowline 970
2 Ply Modified bitumen – IKO
Inverted Membrane – Tremco
6. Interior lighting:
Recessed Linear – Metalumen – Rail 1
House Lighting – Gotham – 6” Incito Cylinder Pendant
7. Interior furniture:
Theatre Seating – Ducharme
Office Furniture – Knoll – Antenna