Save Griffintown!

Images from the Devimco / Arbour Associates proposal by ajkandy
November 22, 2007, 8:48 pm
Filed under: griffintown, media, proposal, Urbanism

Aerial rendering - Village Griffintown

Aerial view, Village Griffintown proposal on the Peel Basin.

Plan view, Village Griffintown

Large map view showing usage notes for buildings. (click image to go to Flickr page with larger view).

Top-down plan view of Village Griffintown

Smaller map view with numbered points referring to these images. #3 is the large aerial view, top.

View of

View corresponding to point #2 in the map, the so-called “Place de la Montagne”.

View on Rue Ottawa

View corresponding to point #1 in the map, the corner of Ottawa street, incorporating an older heritage building.


The author has noted:

“I am worried that the superblock design will make it seem imposing and unwelcoming. The aesthetic design of the buildings is little more than functional – it doesn’t cleave to the scale and feel — of the 19th century greystone character of the surrounding neighborhoods at all”

This is perhaps true, and brings up some revealing questions:
Just who will own this land, and who owns it now? How is the city going to turn over the current owners’ property to the promoter, or will it? Will the city change the zonage of the area before the promoter makes offers, or will the city expropriate and/or buy out owners then give them to the promoter? Just what is happening behind closed doors at this very moment? I think that if one entity becomes sole owner of this area, the project risks to have just “one face,” and then the author’s fears may materialize. I do think, however, that the Grifintown area is due for a facelift, since most of it is deteriorating, but that the proposed project is mostly filler. To make this project worthwhile, MTL citizens have to be actively involved in the planning.

Comment by TheWhatNow?

First impression not as bad as I expected…

That said, I wonder if they could not develop more of a continuous streetscape feel (as in your pecha kucha image, and in keeping with the historical nature of the site). I think you can achieve the same density of housing and commercial units with this model as you can with the high-rise/empty “public” space model.

This is the kind of thing that the city can push by tweaking zoning (ie high minimum density requirements but low building height).

Comment by alanah

[…] Images from the Devimco / Arbour Associates proposal. Save Griffintown! Nov. 22. 07 […]

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I like it a lot. We were expecting a Quartier Dix30 but we got some more than decent plans. Now if it really bets built is another story…

Comment by samuel

I would like to see a population density target at 1/2 or less. (Consider China planned city project.) Try for more green space with greater emphasis on spacious enviromentally integrated housing and commercial buildings. Less direct tax revenue but much better impact on Montreal’s overall value as the ideal place to live.
As a taxpayer I would support this!

Comment by William Tait

My first reaction: Please someone call Robert AM Stern.

… the overall aesthetic is dull, uninspiring, and frankly, utilitarian. I am horrified at Les Jardins and Terraces Windsor and this is following that trend. What is wrong with developers and architects working in this city?? The superblocks are completely innapropriate in this part of the city. If anything we need to be stressing the importance of the original street grid. The mistakes made in the 1960’s and 1970’s keep getting repeated. We did it in the QIM and NYC is doing it at the WTC site. Why not here?? It looks like this is a big-box style Marche-Central mall with resindial components tacked on.

Comment by Edward

I think the height of some of the buildings is exaggerated. Furthermore, they are changing the street layout (Shannon will disappear, for instance), destroying many buildings ( for instance, the Griffintown Horse Palace on Ottawa will have to go ).

Finally, I’d have to agree with the comment above – the aesthetic is quite dull.

This area did not need towers, but 3/4 storey high buildings, harmonized to what the place used to look like in the glorier days of the Irish slums.

Look at what they did at Cité Multimédia – it blends well with the surrounding buildings, yet it is modern.

Comment by douaireg

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I agree with the appraisal that the overall aesthetic may be dull. There are few condo developments in this city which are to be deemed ‘beautiful.’

Why not utilize some of the already existing buildings -many with beautiful brickwork- and work around that? I’ll tell you why: because it’s easier for divimco to make a quick buck off ready-to-assemble condos. That’s their game. This Montréal dammit, we ought to have respect for aesthetics! Tremblay et al. just don’t understand: they are of the old paradigm.

(also, what’s with the parks design? They could do way better than that. Didn’t anyboy at Divimco read Jane Jacobs, fer chrissakes…?)

Comment by Craig Sauvé

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