Montreal Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain

Montreal-based firm Pelletier de Fontenay has designed the new Botanical Garden’s Entrance Pavilion.

Along with the transformation of the Montreal Insectarium and the entrance to Parc Maisonneuve, this project offers a redesigned and modernized access hub for this site.

The new pavilion includes a smaller, separate check-in kiosk, where it will welcome guests, facilitates ticket sales, and provide information on the Botanical Garden and Insectarium.

Developed in collaboration with a team of landscape architects from the City of Montreal’s Urban Parks Division, and the firm Lemay, the vision of the project serves to link the world of Maisonneuve Park to the front court of the newly completed Insectarium.

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain

The project’s main challenge was to better orient and guide visitors towards the Insectarium and Botanical Garden, while respecting the cultural heritage of the site. Pelletier de Fontenay’s team focused on the notion of the ruin as a bearer for several ideas that resonate with modern-day issues.

The Montreal Botanical Garden’s Entrance Pavilion stands as a hybrid figure where architecture and nature meet. The building, once fully covered by vines planted at its base, will become an infrastructure welcoming insects, birds, and small animals.

The new reception pavilion, visible from both Parc Maisonneuve and the Insectarium, is strategically positioned at the inflection point of the approach route. Its triangular plan is designed to create a focal point in the landscape as well as to manage the flow of traffic.

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain

At the base of the volume, the triangle’s corners form the pillars support a wide, square-shaped roof. The interaction of the two geometries produces generous roof overhangs and offers protection from sun and weather.

The large roof, which extends from interior to exterior, supports the notion of landscape continuity. The pavilion’s large sliding doors can remain open, from spring to autum, weather permitting. This means that for a good portion of the year there is no need for heating or air conditioning.

The ability of the building to open wide to the landscape is fundamental to Pelletier de Fontenay’s approach to this project.

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain

The pavilion’s tectonics are completely sublimated in favor of a single-material skin that covers all surfaces. This skin is made entirely of expanded Corten steel, except for the vertical interior faces, where the steel is left smooth.

The use of Corten steel supports the idea of a structure worn and weathered with time. The expanded structure of the sheets provides a support surface for vining plants, and the size of the openings is calibrated to allow them to navigate on either side of the skin.

As the Corten steel cladding gradually oxidizes and the structure is taken over by climbing plants, the pavilion’s appearance will evolve over time, evoking a ruin gradually overtaken by nature.

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain


Technical sheet

Project name: Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion

Location: Montréal, Québec

Opening date: 24 novembre 2023

Client: Ville de Montréal

Architecture: Pelletier de Fontenay

Landscape architecture: Lemay

Civil, stucture, mechanical engineering: EXP

Photography: James Brittain

Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain
Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain
Botanical Garden Entrance Pavilion
Photo credit: James Brittain
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