Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal by CannonDesign and Neuf Architect(e)s: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Pièce de Résistance
It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. But the luminous sky bridge connecting the main building of this health-care complex to its logistics tower is indeed a supernatural apparition up in the air. Bringing cohesiveness to the 3 million-square-foot complex was just the first challenge for CannonDesign principal Jose Silva and Neuf Architect(e)s partner Azad Chichmanian. Convincing skeptical municipal officials to green-light the project was even trickier.
The pitch: transform what might have been a merely functional passage into a work of public art, with a nod to the local tradition of copper-clad architecture. “The bridge is the city’s new benchmark for pushing design ever higher,” Chichmanian says. Guided by parametric design and 3-D printed models, metalworkers cut copper into 4-by-5-foot sheets, perforated each one 194,000 times, and joined the results to form a curtain wall, ultimately supported by stainless-steel ribs. Sunlight spills through the piercings during the day. At night, when sensors activate two rows of linear LEDs tucked into the ceiling, the light show goes external. It’s symbolic as a welcome, given the hospital’s broader role of revitalizing neglected sectors of the city.