Skip to main content

Cycle the City

April 15 – May 15, 2014
ARTH 374: Architecture and Urbanism and Montreal group exhibition

The collaborative exhibition Cycle the City is the result of the research-creation of ten students from the Winter 2014 undergraduate class ARTH 374: Architecture and Urbanism in Montreal. This exhibition is a call to explore and experience the buildings and landscapes found along Montreal’s various bike paths. Inspired by Dr. Jean Bélisle’s famous walking tours of the city, these works encourage people to discover the richness of Montreal’s built environment while travelling on two wheels throughout the spring and summer months.

Each students’ work is inspired by a different building, type, or site, which were used for various purposes throughout the city’s long history.

For example,  Frédérique Pelletier documented the site of the famous Sault-aux-Récollets sawmills. Built in the 18th century on the southern tip of the Ile de la Visitation by French Catholic settlers, this site was previously used and occupied by members of the First Nations, and has now been designated as a national heritage site.

Bianca Su’s project also deals with the impact of Christianity on the island of Montreal, as it is focused on Jean-Omer Marchand’s Sixth Mother House of the Notre-Dame Congregation, a prime example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Bianca also designed an object, named the Flexi-Pad, which is meant to accommodate travel and the bike lovers’ daily routine. This DIY notebook allows flexibility and creativity, as it takes on endless shapes, creating striking architectural structures.

Shinhae Lee’s colourful drawings interpret the Montreal’s skyline, as seen from one of Mount-Royal Park’s lookouts, an ideal spot for bikers to stop and catch their breath.

Angel Galindo’s project, through photography and assemblage, deals with the iconic residential architecture of working class Montreal: the triplex. Focusing on the Plateau Mont-Royal area, his various photographs document the neighborhood’s diversity of façades. The fusion of these images into a symmetrical arrangement shows how the triplex residential architecture shares the same structure. However, each facade design of the triplex is unique in its kind and symbolizes the culture and diversity of its society.

Mauricio Aristizabal’s watercolors focuses on another facet of Montreal working class history, as they strive to capture the unique atmosphere of Griffintown’s industrial landscapes at night. His depictions include buildings such as John Ostell’s New City Gas building near the Lachine Canal, basking in artificial light (despite their historic significance, many of the industrial buildings in this area of town are still in danger of being destroyed amidst the various urban gentrification projects).

As for Marlyn Martinez’s black and white photographs, they display the great variety of architectural styles found alongside the De Maisonneuve bike path (showing, for example, the contrast between the stark minimalism of Mies van der Rohe’s modernist Westmount Square towers and older, 19th century constructions).

Gabrielle Vaillancourt’s contribution, which features another modernist landmark, is an experimental rendition of one of Montreal’s most iconic buildings, Habitat 67, the housing complex designed by Moshe Safdie and built on the Cité du Havre peninsula for Expo 67.

Finally, Colin Earp-Lavergne’s aim is to highlight the untapped potential of transportation in and out of the city. Considering how underused the Jacques-Cartier bridge's bike lane is compared to the amount of car traffic it receives, hopefully, his work will help encourage cyclists usage while also advocating for greater interest in urban planning for bicycles.

The large vector-based map in the vitrine glass was designed by Edward Nyamenkum and is based on his research on Montreal’s cartography. It shows the outlines of the various bike paths found on the island, and helps to position spatially the various projects discussed. Similarly, Alessandra Mantovani, who also researched the history of Montreal’s bike paths, has contributed to the project by creating a flag map showing different neighborhoods and buildings found throughout the city.

The participants would like to thank the Art History Department, specifically Dr. Cynthia Hammond, Dr. Anna Waclawek, Dina Vescio and Eliana Stratica Mihail for their encouragement, help and logistical support.

Instructor: Dr. Nicola PEZOLET

Teaching assistants: Marie-Eve SEVIGNY and Nancy WEBB

Vitrine participants (alphabetically): Mauricio ARISTIZABAL, Colin EARP-LAVERGNE, Angel GALINDO, Shinhae LEE, Alessandra MANTOVANI, Marlyn MARTINEZ, Edward NYAMENKUM, Frederique PELLETIER MORIN, Bianca SU and Gabrielle VAILLANCOURT

Back to top

© Concordia University