The following is a competition entry that I (MrCotain) and my University of McGill peers Alexandre Hamel and Maxime Leclerc completed for the CCA 2011 Charrette. I am pleased to announce that we won the competition with a project entitled: Hydrocosm.
The 2011 Charrette asked contestants(teams) to find a new relationship between water and city living, to think of innovative ways to imagine and celebrate the presence of water in the urban environment and daily life of Montreal. The Charrette challenges participants to propose specific architectural, urban and landscape interventions and public works that causes us to reconsider the presence of water in the city- as civic responsibility, as practical amenity, as recreational diversion, as public inrastructure or as a work of art.
Hydrocosm`s proposal is to use the Lachine Canal, closed to ships in 1970, as a structuring element for both Griffintown and Pointe-Saint-Charles along with the entire city. Acting as a physical barrier, the existing canal only briefly interacts with the city as a post-industrial décor for a bike path. “Our intention is to re-create a dynamic system that reconnects the city of Montreal to the canal. Our aim is to use the existing locks to generate artificial tides allowing for a floating element to meander along the entire canal length and coagulate along the way to provide social spaces.” Following the canal, the elements can anchor and gather in order to exchange with the shore and blur the existing barrier condition . The system has the potential to clean the water and generate electricity during its operation. Alive in the summer, the elements freeze into place in the winter bridging both sides of the canal encouraging transversal relations between both shores.