Stade de Soccer de Montréal

Dramatic neighbourhood stadium pursues ecological restoration and high embodied energy

The land now occupied by the St-Michel Environmental Complex has a long history of human intervention: being used first as a mining centre, then as a dumping site.
The impacts have been both ecological and symbolic, with environmental neglect translating into negative public perception. Today, in an era of rehabilitation and regeneration, this location is now destined to become one of Montreal’s biggest parks with a focus on the environment and ecological restoration.

By Gilles Saucier

Central to this vision is the new indoor soccer stadium, which  emerges from the park’s topography like a mineral stratum, recalling the geological nature of the site. The mineral stratum is articulated by a continuous roof which cantilevers over the entry plaza and folds down over the interior soccer field then extends to the ground to become the spectator seating for the outdoor field. In this way, the form of the roof responds to the requirements of the program and enables the interior soccer centre to become the exterior open-air stadium.

The immense size of the park called for an architectural intervention of grand scale, a truly unique gesture in the city. In order to ensure the formal unity of the project, the design was developed from the transformation of a single element - the roof - constructed from cross laminated timber [CLT]. The structural grid forms a layered mesh, which appears to be random at first sight, but in fact responds with more closely spaced members where greater structural strength is required.

long Papineau Avenue, and existing berm is used to shelter the various service spaces that support the activity areas. This integration accommodates an elevated pedestrian path as well as preserving the existing trees. From this fusion of building and landscape a series of crystal-like windows project toward the street, providing daylight and views for the administrative and public spaces behind. At the southeast end, a large crystalline box emerges, signalling the entrance of the soccer centre. Despite the large scale of the main program components, these luminous elements and preserved vegetation give the architecture a critical human scale that respects the residential neighbourhood it faces. The transparency of the building also promotes a sense of openness.
The programmatic elements are organized efficiently by taking advantage of the linearity of the site, as well as considering the program associations and usages of players, spectators and park visitors. The program is arranged on two levels. Each level is organized using a main circulation corridor that links the interior to the exterior.

On the public entrance level, the corridor is continuous from the plaza entry, through the lobby and central programmatic spaces, permitting access directly to the stands.

For the second level, the corridor extends toward the exterior playing surface where it integrates with the exterior stands.
The design team worked closely with the engineers and manufacturers of the CLT panels to develop the structural concept for the project. This integrated design process led to the formulation of a structural grid that optimizes member dimensions according to span and loading.

The CLT grid structure is the only one of its kind in the world. Approximately 90% of the lumber used is locally sourced black spruce. CLT offers new design possibilities for the creation of exposed, organic structures. It is light, cost-effective, and sustainable.
The main roof is supported by thirteen separate 69 m long box beams, 500 mm wide by 4,100 mm high, constructed of a combination of Nordic Lam glued-laminated timber and Nordic X-Lam CLT. Each beam weighs 77 tonnes.

The wood structure is flexible and allows the integration of mechanical systems because of the varying heights of its layered chord members – sometimes members are at full height, and at other instances they allow for a gap above to permit the passage of ventilation systems. Lighting fixtures are placed under the beams highlighting the seemingly random geometry of the grid.

With such a vast structure and a small enclosed program, the material choices and embodied energy of the building are the most critical components of the environmental strategy. Nonetheless, operating energy efficiency is achieved with high levels of insulation, high-performance glazing, heat-recovery ventilation, and high-efficiency lighting and mechanical equipment. The project is targeting LEED Gold.

Client City of Montreal
Architects Saucier+Perrotte architectes / HCMA architects
Gilles Saucier (Lead Design Architect), André Perrotte (Principal-in-Charge), Darryl Condon, Trevor Davies, Michael Henderson, Lia Ruccolo, Patrice Bégin, Charles-Alexandre Dubois, Leslie Lok, David Moreaux, Yutaro Minagawa, Vedanta Balbahadur, Marc-André Tratch, Nick Worth.

General contractor Entreprise de construction T.E.Q. inc.
Structural and Civil Engineers NCK Inc.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Bouthillette Parizeau
LEED Consultant Synairgis
Wood Structure Nordic Structures
Landscape Architect WAA Inc.
Photos Olivier Blouin
Drawings Saucier + Perrotte architectes / HCMA architects


- Glulam: 2,500m3; CLT: 1,625m3
- Wood sequesters approximately 0.9 tonnes per cubic metre, which equates to about 3,700 tonnes of sequestered carbon.
As a point of reference, the annual GHG emissions in Canada are around 20 tonnes per capita. [Conference Board of Canada 2010].

Gilles Saucier, lead design architect, Saucier+Perrotte architectes / HCMA architects.


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