Taktik Design revamps sunken garden oasis in Montreal college
Maxime Brouillet

Taktik Design revamps sunken garden oasis in Montreal college

23 Apr 2024  •  News  •  By Gerard McGuickin

At the heart of Montreal’s Collège de Maisonneuve, Montreal-based Taktik Design has completed the development of a lush and colorful sunken garden oasis housed under a glass roof. The project epitomizes Taktik’s approach to biophilic design.

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

The interior garden was first created in 1972 as a result of the addition of a new college wing. A glass roof transformed the “Brutalist-style courtyard” into a veritable all-weather greenhouse. A popular spot for students, the space was very much in need of an upgrade.

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

At its core, biophilic design enhances our connection — visual and non-visual — with the natural world in a way that increases health, happiness, and well-being. Nature stimulates the senses, from sight and sound to scent, taste, and touch. In the newly revamped interior garden at the Collège de Maisonneuve, “light, grandiosity, and the predominance of plants were at the forefront of the conception of the renewed interior layout,” says Taktik Design. “The aim was to create a piece of immersive art that would combine the benefits of greenery with the pleasures of the human experience.” To aid visual comfort, the lighting system automatically adjusts in accordance with seasonal variations in luminosity. With a large amount of greenery, an irrigation system facilitates the garden’s maintenance. 

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

The revamped garden now has several feature points, including: the transformation of an old waterfall into a cascade of weathering steel walls surrounded by vegetation; a “chill-out zone” shaded by palm trees, providing a moment of respite; and three large-scale colorful wall murals (L’Extrémité Ouverte, Les Particules Élémentaire, Les Transitions) by Montreal visual artist and former student Jason Cantoro — the murals offset the brutalist characteristics of the garden.

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet
photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet
photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

The garden’s varied spaces are defined by wooden decks and pergola-like structures. “The mortise and tenon joints [connecting pieces of wood] recall the ingenuity of hands-on craftsmanship,” says Taktik. At the garden’s northern end, Montreal-based C2V Architecture incorporated a polished concrete mezzanine that provides additional space and includes the largest of the site’s four wooden structures. The area beneath the mezzanine is a new work/meeting room whose windows overlook the garden’s multi-level landscaping and design. 

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet
photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

The multi-functional furniture is custom-made from Douglas fir, weathering steel, and galvanized steel. Forest green chairs, stools, and bench and table legs, harmonize with the lush foliage. Taktik chose a pigeon, commonly found in Montreal, as the garden’s quirky totem bird. “Around forty sculpted pigeons dot the space, bringing added color while cohabiting with the users and imbuing a touch of playfulness,” says the studio.

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet
photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

Originally an experiment, the Collège de Maisonneuve’s interior garden has come into its own over the years. The biophilic design has made the area more user-friendly and inviting — a space that students can utilize for socializing and study and a place open to the public for various evening and weekend activities.

photo_credit Maxime Brouillet
Maxime Brouillet

Surface Area: 9,000 square feet (836 square meters)

Landscaping: Chantale de Menezes and Albert Mondor

Horticulturist: Wallemi

Pigeons: Atelier Décor 3d