Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal by CannonDesign & Neuf Architect(e)s: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Outdoor
This huge hospital has bragging rights to spare: 3 million square feet and 12,000-plus rooms—for phase one alone. (Phase two is scheduled for completion in 2021.) And that’s just indoors. The outside of the building is animated by the results of the Quebec government’s dictate that at least 1 percent of the project’s budget, the equivalent of $1.5 billion in the U.S., be dedicated to public art. “We incorporated art directly into the architecture in ways that blur the line between the two,” Neuf Architect(e)s partner Azad Chichmanian says.
Viewable by patients and staff from above, seven roof terraces boast supersize depictions of various medicinal herbs, some dating to the founding of Quebec’s colonial predecessor, New France. This graphic effect occurs naturally, as plantings fill in the gaps in the paving’s pre-cast fiberglass-reinforced concrete. The building facade, meanwhile, serves as a backdrop for 13 large-scale commissions from local artists, representing the biggest concentration of public art in the city since Expo 67. CannonDesign principal Jose Silva sums it up: “It’s rewarding to see the years of planning, design, and intense effort come to life.”