St-Hubert street in Montreal is undergoing a process of re-invention. It is scheduled for replacement of underground infrastructure and surface redevelopment in early 2018 which has provided a moment of opportunity to strengthen and celebrate its current identity.
This artery has become a vibrant representation of the co-existence of varied social, cultural and commercial elements laced together underneath its iconic glass canopy. The eclectic mix of different ways of life, of residents and merchants, of first time brides and everyday neighbors, can inspire new types of public space and new rituals for living together.
Drawn from its innovative and beloved past of putting the magic of the street “up in the air,” we propose a series of elevated public plazas, hovering living rooms, floating bleachers, perched atop the existing canopy. Overlapping a second layer of communal space above the commercial activity below extends the street towards the sky, reveals unseen vantage points and stimulates new urban relationships and social interactions.
Inspired by the historical evolution of the living room as a place for conversation, entertainment and the sharing of equipment, offering a wide range of services, from hair salons to funeral parlors, we see the living rooms of St-Hubert street becoming everyday meeting points, offering a temporary marketplace and community amenities.
Taking the scale and structure of the existing canopy as its platform, the intervention would activate abandoned facades, explore unused rooftops and liberate closed storefronts to provide a variety of new public experiences. The sky becomes the street’s privileged locale to watch a film, dance under the stars, picnic or just to relax near the tree tops.