La TOHU Pavilion houses La TOHU, an organization dedicated to the circus arts that has a unique relationship to its surrounding landscape, the Saint-Michel Environmental Complex (CESM). CESM was formerly a quarry, then the 2nd largest landfill in North America, and today is being converted into a 160-hectare urban park. In addition to housing the administrative offices and performance spaces for La TOHU, the Pavilion acts as the main welcome center for CESM. Visitors to the Pavilion can see an exhibit on the evolution and transformation of the site as well as take tours of CESM which emphasize the sustainability principals of, “reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery,” by demonstrating man’s impact on the natural environment there. The Pavilion itself was designed to embodying these principals, so it is no surprise that reused materials are featured prominently in the main lobby. The reused materials include colorful pieces of bumper cars applied as a decorative balustrade, exposed beams of reclaimed steel, and terraces made of wood from the CN Railroads. In addition to contributing the building’s sustainability agenda, these materials provide a connection with the industrial heritage of the CESM site and contribute a funky, colorful atmosphere that one might expect from a center for the circus arts.
After completion, La Tohu Pavilion was awarded Canadian LEED “Gold” status, making it the first LEED building in Eastern Canada. The building poetically points to a new, more sustainable way forward on a site known for its long history of environmental shortsightedness.
Reclaimed Materials (by application): Metals, Wood/Lumber
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Year completed: 2004
Architects: Schème consultants, L’Architect Jacques Plante, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte et Associés
Client: Jacques Charest, Cité des arts du cirque, Corporation
Contractor: Construction Vergo Inc.
La TOHU webpage