Espace 67

In 1967 the International and Universal Exposition — commonly known as EXPO 67 — was at the helm of the 20th century as the most successful World’s Fair garnering a record-breaking number of visitors.
 
Held from April 27th to October 29th in Montréal, 62 nations participated in the exposition and the venue has since remained as a standing collection of international pavilions known as “Man and His World” on Île-Sainte-Hélène, which had been enlarged, and Île-Notre-Dame, which had been created for the event.
 

Over a half-century later, the original heart of EXPO 67 received a Lemay makeover as the new Espace 67, linking the island’s Biosphere to Alexander Calder’s monumental Trois disquessculpture.



The transformed multifunctional site now features a 65,000-seat natural amphitheatre as well as a riverside walkway, Event Village, Natural Agora, and public spaces that can accommodate year-round functions
.
 

“Lemay’s concept blends the enchanting natural setting and rich historic past of this exceptional site, to offer a truly versatile space,” said Andrew King, Partner and Design principal at Lemay. “It has been reborn as a destination unto itself, now able to fully accommodate a wide range of major events.”

Recreating and building on the site’s original signature, Lemay met the project objectives to remodel the spirit of EXPO.
 
By integrating landscape and building architecture, urban design, brand image, and signage, the firm created a new attraction in harmony with nature and culture, revealing the site’s loci.
 

Lemay developed adaptive reuse and holistic design strategy to devise an original user experience via enhanced reception services, flexible event space, and improved visitor orientation.

It sculpted the space into a geometric pattern defined by inclined planes and the quintessential central pathway, which now maximizes views of the Calder sculpture.

 The latter draws visitors from the metro into the site with its distinctive seating areas, greenspace and views of downtown, Old Montréal, and the St. Lawrence River.

 

In addition to improving visitor circulation, the redevelopment showcases the quality of the existing built and natural environment and makes architectural references to the site’s celebrated history.
 

The roof of the service pavilions follows the geometric pattern of the pavers in the central aisle, inspired by the triangular architecture of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, now known as the Biosphere.

 

The pavilions’ volumes, materiality, façades, and lighting are wayfinding elements that guide visitors through the site’s experience as they fulfill reception, information, restaurant, and administrative functions. Their positioning also facilitates crowd management during events.
 

EXPO 67 is still regarded as an essential landmark moment in Canadian history. The revitalization of the site is a legacy of the City of Montréal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.

— Photo credits: Marc Cramer, Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau, Lemay

Project Team

Landscape Architect, Project Director: Lucie Saint-Pierre | Lead Designer: Andrew King | Landscape Architect, Project Manager: Mylène Carreau | Landscape Architect, Design Manager: Patricia Lussier | Architect, Design Manager: Pierre E. Leclerc

Design and Production Team: Jean-Philippe Di Marco, Carlos Santibanez, Valérie Gravel, Milyausha Gabdrakhmanova, Simon Pelletier, Benoit Gaudet, Jean-François Doyon, François Ménard, Arnaud Villard, Joseph-Marie Tremblay. | Partners: Trizart, Groupe DDM | Engineering: WSP | General Contractor: Pomerleau | Lighting Design: Ombrage

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