In 2001, Concordia University held a design competition to rehouse three major faculties; Engineering, Computer Science (ENCS), Visual Arts (VA) and the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), on either side of Guy Street. This initiated the first phase of its long-term vision to create a more cohesive identity for its dispersed downtown campus: an integrated complex – Le Quartier Concordia.
The winning design emphasized three clear strategies; the importance of creating a vibrant ground plane which would act as a hub to both connect the academic fabric of the urban campus and offer shared amenities to the whole university; the concept of a vertical campus of stacked three-storey atria with lounges to interconnect departments and encourage interdisciplinarity; and the value of giving each faculty a legible image while expressing a revitalized identity for the downtown Concordia campus.
Located directly above the Metro, both buildings feature light-filled underground spaces, connected to each other and to transit. The massing of the pavilions responds to the existing urban context and provides teaching and research space and faculty offices. At the top of each pavilion figurative canopies orient to views of the city, Mont Royal and the St. Lawrence River.
The project, speaking to the vitality of both the University and the city, has been transformative for Concordia, dramatically reinvigorating the academic mandate while attracting students and retaining strong faculty.