Colombarium

Set in a wooded park, the columbarium revolves around its 2 main volumes including a reception room and a chapel. Coated with raw materials, such as corten steel and concrete, which return to perennial materials, the volumes are decomposed into juxtaposed strata. The corten steel in the lower part is anchored to the horizon while the volumes of concrete rise towards the sky. Sliding in the interstices left by the volumes, the spaces of circulation unite the elements gravitating around the rooms and multiply the points of view framing the landscape. Crossed by a fault of light, the alcoves are conceived as more intimate spaces, conducive to recollection. They contain the niches where the funeral urns are placed. Outside, the main traffic axis extends to cross the water basins symbolizing the transition to the beyond. Indicating the path, corten steel blades extend to the garden to blend into the landscape. In the...

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Cistercian Abbey

The Cistercian monks of the Abbaye Notre-Dame-du-Lac in Oka needed to move their dwindling community to a new building. The chosen site was 1-1/2 hour north of Montreal, in a pristine unpopulated forest. Every architect in Quebec was invited to submit their proposal for the future abbey. Sixty-seven entries were presented. Our project was selected along with 4 other finalists to present in the second phase. The Cistercian order is the most minimalist of all. No ornamentation nor distraction is desired. By limiting the palette of materials, we created a serene and austere environment to tune the senses into the fragile and delicate experience of monastic life. The monk’s space of solitude is delineated by a pure rectangular form inserted in the dense untouched forest. It acts as a membrane that filters by osmosis the exchanges with the outside world : air, sound, light and visitors. Within the membrane, the compound is organized around...

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