Les architectes FABG - Pierrefonds Community Center in Montreal, Quebec Print
Friday, 22 January 2010 08:38

The Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, is a large suburb of Montreal located in the western end of the Montreal island. It contains a population of more than 65 000 socially and economically diversified inhabitants, distributed over a 30 Kilometres (18 Miles). While the demographic majority is middle-class, there is a significant 16% of the population living under the level of poverty.
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Photographs by Steve Montpetit


The neighbourhood around the project is enlivened by the presence of a train station, a school, a youth centre and a park. The municipal authorities initiated the project to enhance the sense of community, bringing people of different social and ethic backgrounds together and helping in the integration of new citizens in conjunction with social organizations and volunteers. The center includes a multipurpose room for 150 persons, classrooms of different sizes and a communal kitchen.
FABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_planTo avoid the stigma that daunts institutional building, the project adopts the typological morphology of the suburban commercial building, i.e. one story building with large fenestration and a frontal canopy. The project is then enhanced with a green roof, an outdoor bandstand and a stage-house with a motorized technical grid.
FABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_02FABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_03The concept attempts a camouflage of the "Miesian ideal" behind the appearance and proportions of a suburban commercial structure, all in an effort of making the public building more inviting. A cladding of silicon coated glass panels and a glossy powder coating on aluminium plates were chosen for their resistance to graffiti. The building remains, a few years later, pristine and untouched by the expression of resentfulness that gets usually reserved towards public property.FABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_08
FABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_09aFABG_Centre_communautaire_Pierrefonds_06According to the architects, the authorities were concerned about the apparent frailness of the building that doesn’t rely on the solidity of masonry to resist abuse. As they conclude: "We like to think that this defensive attitude may be perceived as a form of provocation by those who just want more justice and beauty in this world."
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