Despite perfect location Laval University’s School of Architecture is suffering from lack of clear entrance with spatial qualities appropriate for institution of this size and recognition. Existing entrance, as a former gate to seminary building, is very humble and in current state cannot function as a vibrant, inviting place for young people.
My proposal tries to answer the question of creating distinctively modern building without ignoring complexity and the historical value of immediate surroundings. Vicinity of most recognizable Quebec’s architectural monuments makes area between the Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral and Museum of French America perfect place for distinctive entrance for architectural school. Even though this location is challenging in many ways (limited penetration of daylight, thin and elongated plot) it provides great exposure to the school. Added volume works as a kind of universities showcase. First two floors are dedicated to gatherings, studio critiques, which in such a prominent location makes students works almost exhibited to the public. The building is topped by restaurant which, by providing view to nearby square, and several architectural monuments of great value (Notre-Dame Cathedral, Édifice Price, Parliament Building), should also attract many people from outside the school.
New building uses distinctively modern language. It tries to add a new layer to the rich history of a place, without overwhelming the surroundings, but also without being dominated by it. Architectural appearance of building is intentionally raw and severe. Besides reference to the history of the place and the austere architecture of seminary it also provides kind of neutral box intended to be filled with life by students and their works.