SEMI-FINALIST PROPOSAL FOR LE DIAMANT THEATER IN QUÉBEC CITY. Rehabilitation of the old YMCA.
Our approach is based on the notions of landscape and geology that characterize the built environment of the historic district of Old Québec. Nearby, the strong presence of the Porte Saint-Jean and the defensive system that constitutes the Fortifications of the city of Québec reiterates the dual nature of these buildings that are both architecture and landscape. Though the surrounding buildings belong to a variety of styles and eras, their common denominator is based on a strong relationship with the mineral, and an architectural composition in horizontal strata. This reading of the city as stacked stratum transcends time so that we find it in all the surrounding buildings. Thus, there is a timeless horizontal frame that serves as an anchor for the realization of a contemporary project in continuity with the old fabric of the city. The kept elements of the old YMCA reinforce this continuity with the urban context and serve as a counterpoint to the simplicity of the theater and its smooth skin. Due to its scale and importance, the performance room is the core of the project. It acts as a precious object inside the geological strata. By its neutrality, it offers a potential of transformation. It has no clear picture, it changes constantly. The memory of the place will be forged over time and by the shows that are its true purpose.
A tension emerges between the scale and purity of the theater and the preserved elements of the existing building. The formal and material resolution comes from the complementarity between these opposed universes. One has history and character, the other is a simple objet, smooth and reflective. These two periods weave a space for dialogue between the old and the new.