The proposal for a large scale housing project in an industrial zoned neighbourhood in downtown Montreal lacks the design of new public spaces. Without these places to tend to the phases of transition between the new and old neighbourhood, residents risk loosing sight of the complex layering of events and technologies that characterize the area called Griffintown.
A former industrial site on the southern boundary of Griffintown connects the neighbourhood to a public park. The linear park follows the edge of the Lachine Canal, facilitating leisure activities across the width of the island. Similar to the Griffintown proposal, the park development next to the vacant site, superficially covers over the neglect of an abandoned industrial sector known as the Pointe-des-Seigneurs. Below the surface of the linear canal park and the site is a thick bed of 19th and 20th century industrial waste, and theartifacts of the technology which produced it. I propose to design a building to remediate the Pointe-des- Seigneurs’ toxic landscape, by literally washing away the contaminants. A new industrial building is situated at the canal’s edge by the St. Gabriel locks and diverts water onto the site, enabling new forms of interaction between the canal, the landscape including the previously buried artifacts, and the participants of thepark space. The project is built into the framework of the canal, is carried into the site by the topographic dynamics of the canal system, and alters the program of the linear park. It does this by introducing an industry into the site which enables the creation of new boundaries and around it for interpreting the complex layers of the site.