C40, Montréal, Canada

C40, Montréal, Canada

As the world awakens to its own climate emergency, a group of sixteen cities has called upon architects, developers, environmentalists, communities, innovators and artists for viable solutions. White Arkitekter is part of the finalist team for the Montréal leg of the C40 project. Their 2019 proposal prompted the jury to embark on a meaningful transformation, where a former industrial site would have become a vertical self-sufficient community of five towers geared towards climate neutrality and social resilience.

The C40 network is behind the competition gathering the world’s megacities who are commited to address climate change. Teaming up with Rachel Julien, Arup, Figurr and Convercité, White Arkitekter created an area where artists’ studios – a rare commodity in the region – would become a central resource and the pulse of the community. Even a ‘black box’, for the production and rehearsal of performing arts, was planned as one of the fixtures of the district.

The proposal’s ambition was to become a reference in environmental performance. The five towers, hosting over 400 residential units, would become the home of families of different constellations and phases of life: from singles to small families and apartments for the elderly. At its core, this mixed-used and passive design programme has green and blue structures and smart energy which is responsive to local climate conditions.

Client: Montréal, Province de Québec, Canada
Place: Montreal, Canada
Status: Completed competition

If we are to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement, carbon neutrality must be the standard for all new buildings. A part of this is purchased sources of energy such as electricity or natural gas. Passive design also includes daylighting, natural ventilation and solar energy.
Marie-France Stendahl, Lead architect and Head of business development for Canada

Towards carbon neutrality

Built in timber and with brick facades, the five compact towers reference the district’s historical industrial identity. Important aspects of the proposal include strategies for permaculture – which draws on organic patterns and resilient features from natural ecosystems – and aquaponic, i.e. plant production systems involving the suspension of plant roots in nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. In other words, local vegetables and fish, both of them easily made available to local commerce and dinner tables.

Designed according to the principle and logic of resilient circular economy, solutions within mobility, water and waste were designed as valuable assets to the proposal.

The project’s calculations indicated that it would consume 53 percent less energy than traditional real estate developments and produce only 7,4 tons of carbon per year. This would be achieved through the purchase of renewable energy certificates to achieve carbon neutrality. The development would upcycle 80 percent of the waste produced on site – a 93 percent reduction compared to current practices.

Mobility services such as collective use of vehicles, bicycle infrastructure and access to public transport – as well as reduced numbers of parking spots – nudge residents towards everyday habits which are both healthy and climate smart.

Creating value for, and with, citizens

So as to ensure relevance of the proposed solutions and create a spirit of meaningful co-creation, a process of identifying needs and wishes by the locals were planned, as are artistic programmes to design the fixtures in public realm. Different information sessions were in the books, with a focus on local ecosystems. The goal is to incite curiosity and strengthen skills and knowledge about self-sufficient food production among the local community.

Contact & Team

Marie-France Stendahl

Marie-France Stendahl

Head of Business Development Canada, Architect

+46 766 39 46 55

Oskar Norelius

Marie-Claude Dubois

Niels de Bruin

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