Théâtre de Verdure

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Architecture and design firm Lemay is introducing its transformation of Montréal’s Théâtre de Verdure, originally established in 1956. This theater has undergone a makeover, now embracing a four-season concept that reimagines the dynamic between theater and park, architecture and natural landscape, and the constructed and the organic.

Guided by an inclusive and diverse vision, which expands the theater’s purpose while honoring its rich heritage, this public venue has become more accessible and welcoming than ever for aficionados of arts and culture.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

By integrating with the scenic beauty of La Fontaine Park, the Théâtre de Verdure’s architecture optimizes sightlines to both the stage and the lush surroundings. Lemay’s design extends its influence from the water basin’s edge deep into the heart of the park, arranging various features in a manner that fosters an enduring presence.

Crafted to enrich the experience of visitors and passersby alike, this architectural marvel beckons exploration both within its confines and in the surrounding environs. The outcome is a fresh, contemporary, and vibrant public space, offering a lively haven for admirers of arts and culture to witness unforgettable moments.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

“Intervening on the Théâtre de Verdure was an incredible opportunity to offer its visitors an architectural, landscape, and artistic experience. In an approach where the limits between the two became blurred, the project developed as a vast scenography of the landscape through architecture,” said Eric Pelletier, senior partner at Lemay and lead designer on the project.

The revitalization of the site transcends the idea of a solitary stage and instead establishes a fresh theatrical hub seamlessly merged with the natural environment. This transformation enables all to reacquaint themselves not only with the Théâtre de Verdure but also with the park and its serene water basin. Equipped with top-notch stage facilities, the venue is poised to host grand outdoor artistic performances, providing ample seating for up to 2,500 attendees.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

“Throughout the project, we were keen to reaffirm the theatre’s heritage identity, and we took care to develop new interventions compatible with the memory of the site,” said Marie-Ève Parent, associate and discipline director in landscape architecture at Lemay.

To ensure round-the-clock accessibility to the site, even when performances are not taking place, Lemay has introduced new entrances and extended the pedestrian pathway surrounding the basin. By introducing low-lying vegetation and preserving the existing canopy, they’ve created fresh vantage points that reveal both the theater and the encompassing park, allowing the theater to stand out within the site rather than concealing it from view.

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Lemay has implemented sustainable strategies from its Net Positive framework to minimize the project’s ecological footprint. Virtually all spaces have been designed to connect with the outdoors, including the green room, which juts out over the pond encircling the theater. Interventions on the site were kept to a minimum to maximize the area’s natural vegetation cover and enhance the theater’s integration with the landscape. Local materials, such as native Canadian Douglas fir, were favored over Brazilian ipe wood, a common choice for similar structures.

This iconic site has long been a cultural epicenter, hosting countless free performances throughout its history. Starting this year, artists from various disciplines are once again gracing its stage with an exciting calendar of free events, spanning from dance performances and grand orchestral spectacles to theatrical productions and dazzling circus acts, celebrating the site’s rich artistic heritage.

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