Simple Design, Transforming the City

Jean-Talon Station’s southwest exit in 2010 Rendering by MileEnd Design The southwest exit of Montreal’s Jean-Talon metro station — a small but interesting specimen of contemporary architecture — is situated along Jean-Talon Street, at the end of a huge parking lot and between some commercial strips in need of renovation. In that situation, we can […]

The Dimensional Door

Imagine if you could walk through the doorway in one place and arrive elsewhere on the other side. Could we create a practical and easily replicable device that would allow for safe and simple instantaneous travel from one place to another regardless of the distance? How could the two doorways be connected? Once connected, what […]

Cambridge, Temporarily

Kendall Square now… Kendall Square as it could be? One of the beautiful things about an academic planning exercise is that you can indulge in a little flight of fancy. A recent exercise at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design let people imagine a temporary urban intervention in one of Cambridge’s famous squares. A “square”, in […]

Montreal by Bus: Is Your Route Legible?

Photo by Kurt Raschke To refresh you: in my last article, I talked about the names of bus lines, and how they can be used to help transit users navigate the city. I mentioned, among other things, that buses might be named for the paths that they follow or their end points, and that the […]

Aide-mémoires transport

The scenario works like this: after a night of revelry on Boulevard St-Laurent, it’s time to stagger home. You know the set of night buses you have to take: the 360 to Atwater, say, and then the 356 out to NDG. But, of course, you have no idea what times they’re due to arrive; you […]

Posted in: Canada, Transportation by Sam Imberman 3 Comments , , ,

Montreal by Bus: The Names of Bus Routes

You could conceivably have a bus network where bus lines were identified only by their number. We don’t technically need bus routes to have names for them to be usable, as long as each bus has a key: something, probably a number, that makes each route individually identifiable to riders. Still, it would be pretty […]

Montreal’s Missing Beaches

Beach in Cartierville, on the Rivière des Prairies, around 1910 Nathalie Collard has a column in today’s La Presse lamenting the lack of access Montrealers have to their waterways. “Les Montréalais habitent une île, mais n’ont pratiquement pas accès à l’eau. C’est aberrant,” she writes. It’s true: despite being surrounded by water, including a variety […]

Posted in: Canada, Environment, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Montreal’s Missing Beaches , ,

Ruelles With Potential

Montreal is one of the most dynamic and engaging cities in North America, but sometimes I wish that creativity would be reflected in its urban planning. So many corners of this city brim with potential — but much of that potential is being wasted. Consider the case of two downtown laneways: Mount Royal Place and […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , , ,

Films de Mars

The Champ de Mars is one of Montreal’s most storied places. It derives its name from the French colonial era, when it was a military parade ground, but in the eighteenth century it was the site of the city’s northern wall. After the wall was torn down in the early nineteenth century, the Champ was […]

Posted in: Canada, Film, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Films de Mars , ,

Paris: Beyond the End of History

Quai d’Orsay: From Commuters to Connoisseurs French culture is dead. So declared Time magazine’s Don Morrison recently. Complacently subsisting off plentiful government subsidies, France’s once-trendsetting culture class have failed to keep up and compete with any of the noise issuing forth from the anglophone world. If France’s capital city is any reflection of the country’s […]

Living in a Laneway

Abandoned laneway triplex near St. Louis Square This summer, while wandering through one of the sidestreets between Prince Arthur and Sherbrooke, I veered off into a laneway. Expecting to find some interesting graffiti, a picturesque clothesline or maybe some discarded furniture, I was surprised to come across an entire triplex at the intersection of two […]

Posted in: Architecture, Canada by Christopher DeWolf 4 Comments , , ,

Ideas for An Awkward Space

On a crisp evening early last week, I joined about two dozen other people in a crowded studio on the fourth floor of McGill’s Macdonald-Harrington Building. We were there to see what ideas for reshaping the Pine/Park interchange four teams of McGill urban planning students, led by former Vancouve planning director Larry Beasley. I won’t […]

Crassly Ste. Catherine

Looking at these old postcards of Ste. Catherine Street — the first one is a drawing from the 1930s and the second a photo taken in the 1960s — reveals a downtown thoroughfare that was decidedly upbeat, bright and giddy with neon. Like a northern Broadway, Ste. Catherine’s cinemas, nightclubs and restaurants advertised themselves with […]

Montréal Architecture (No.4)

Au cours du siècle dernier, nous avons identifié de grandes tendances telles que « l’historicisme », « le modernisme », « le brutalisme », etc. La construction « verte » n’est pas une formule écologique à suivre ni une mode parmi d’autres. Elle va au-delà d’un bâtiment et englobe aussi le quartier, la ville et […]

Posted in: Architecture, Canada, Environment, Europe, Politics, Society and Culture, Transportation by Owen Rose Comments Off on Montréal Architecture (No.4) , , ,