As is true of all Montreal neighbourhoods, Centre-Sud is characterized by its physiognomy and history. It is defined by a combination of unique architectural characteristics such as flush-to-the-street buildings, mansards, and traditional carriage entrances. Throughout all the changes it has undergone, this neighbourhood’s history divided and determined its built environment.


Date : 2006
Place : Montréal

Surface : 60 m2

Client : Private
Phase : Co-conception with Eve Larochelle and Sophie Pelletier

Images : Marilène Blain-Sabourin, Architect

Interspersed between the buildings, 39 gaps fragment the architectural tissue throughout the neighbourhood. Too narrow to erect a building and too large to be barricaded, these vacant spaces seem to defy urban designers. Leftovers evoke a punctual act of creation in constant dialogue with the neighbourhood from which it draws its inspiration.  

Small, orange-coloured personalized lean-to structures have been built in these gaps. Perched high enough to clear carriage entrances and avoid obstructing existing traffic while respecting architectural paradigms, these boxes act as temporary havens for artists with a thirst for expression.

Acting as true ready-to-accommodate housing, audacious urban showcases, dedicated workshops, and makeshift art galleries, these small houses turn neighbourhood streets into an open-air museum where artisans open their doors to passersby. With their bold colours, these small houses act as landmarks for a new and renewable discovery route, generating sites where citizens, experience, matter, and creativity merge to yield contemporary urbanity.

What happens to a neighbourhood if its architectural identity is emphasized in a way that highlights its artists and encourages residents to become participating agents? It becomes dynamic and alive, permeable to creativity, curiosity, and exchanges… It opens up to the future.