In the spring of 2009, the firm Cardin Ramirez Julien won the international architecture competition organized by the city of Montreal, in order to remodel the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan near the Olympic Stadium. This ambitious project of 48 million dollars was realized in conjunction with the architecture agency Ædifica.
Covering an area of 8000 m2, the new Planétarium has three levels: the first floor, linked to the Biodôme, is intended for groups and mechanical spaces; the ground floor includes public areas and two star theaters; the last level is reserved to the administration.
Two materials form an integral part of the concept: aluminum, a modern recyclable alloy, as well as wood. “Wood becomes an architectural and sculptural object worked with impressive technical skills, notes the jury. From a simple material, the architects have created a spectacular effect.”
One cannot help but admire the sphere of the astronomical theater made of maple wood slats; the decor masterpiece that represents Saturn and Jupiter. The result is a striking contrast with the more vibrant tones of the surrounding elements.
Parts of the ceiling are also skilfully covered with pine, which stands out against the darker acoustic materials. This linear texture and the lighting made of fluorescent tubes placed in various angles and heights both intensify the vastness of space.
It should be noted that the building, certified eco-friendly, incorporates the highest standards of sustainable development – more than 75% of existing structures were recovered. In addition, the wood used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); a detail appreciated by the jury, who demonstrates commitment to promote sound forest management.
This project, doubly rewarded with the Museum Award and the Best Use of Wood in Interior Design Award, has won over the jury with a bold design that reaches all generations.