Saturday, April 11, 2009

City planning and design from late 20th century montreal

Yes, that's a rodeo in a shopping mall.

This city had a huge surge of construction from the mid 60's through to the late 70's, leaving in it's wake a combination of amazing buildings in the international style and this sort of socialist ideal of the underground city. Where private space serves as a public forum.

In practice the space serves a private agenda, and sets the precedent for even the public spaces of montreal to serve that agenda. It's not that obvious until you try and find a place to sit down and eat your lunch and find yourself lost in a maze of food courts that span for miles below the city streets.

BUT! the bad comes with the good. The architecture here is fantastic. It's dreary, lost and disjointed and AMAZING. This past summer in late august my friend took me for a drive to a suburb on an island just off of downtown. We drove through the wooded streets until we got to a grassy park that sloped down to the water. As we were enjoying the twilight in the park he pointed out that we were sitting next to a complete Mies Van Der Rohe apartment complex. There are two more van der rohe's on the island and another large complexe in the west end of the city. It's like some sort of socialist poor-ass Chicago. With rodeos in shopping malls.

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