Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium by Cardin Ramirez Julien + Ædifica

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumA new flagship institution in Montréal, after an international architecture competition won by architecture and design consortium Cardin Ramirez Julien + Ædifica. Their winning proposal stood out from those of some 60 candidates for the quality and imagination of its concept.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumThe chosen site is unique in terms of both its urban qualities and its historical landmarks like the Olympic Stadium and the Biodôme, which attest to significant chapters in Québec’s past. Respectfully integrated into this exceptional setting, the new planetarium offers clear sightlines to the surrounding architecture.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumA date with the stars
The project sets the stage for a special relationship with nature through views that open up toward the skies as well as toward new plantings and landforms. To encourage users to frequent the site and make it their own—one of the project’s main objectives—the designers created a range of human-scale outdoor environments.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumThe Olympic site’s concrete slab was topographically manipulated to create a new publicly accessible landscape. Reworked and reoriented to make way for both interior and exterior public spaces, the new configuration affords better flow as well as ease of movement between different levels.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumA “constellation” of isles of greenery completes the design. Two enormous truncated cones pointing skyward, evoking telescopes scanning the universe, call attention to the site and give it a strong visual identity, making it clearly identifiable in the Olympic Park and among neighbouring structures.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumIn terms of functionality, the planetarium is divided into three levels. The first, dedicated to groups, links to the Biodôme and mechanical areas. The second (ground floor) is given over to public spaces and the two Star Theatres, while the third houses office space.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumThe theatres
Beneath the two cones are two half-spheres, each one housing a spectacular theatre. Equipped with the latest in stage equipment technology, each theatre is unique in its genre and offers a fully immersive experience.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumBacked by the idea that humans were probably in the forest the first time they noticed the starry night sky, wood became a giant metaphor and a vital element in the design.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumThe wood that graces the sphere of the Milky Way Theatre,  a striking interior feature that mimics the curves and contours of nature ,  expresses this sense of poetry, while simultaneously evoking the surface of planets like Saturn and Jupiter.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumArchitecture for life
The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium harnessed cutting-edge technologies to the full expertise and creative ingenuity of its architects, engineers and contractors, who have a marked interest in sustainable buildings and renewable energy sources. The structure aims to obtain LEED New Construction Platinum certification.
Connecting urban life to nature
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumWith the new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, SPACE FOR LIFE brings together four institutions all dedicated to the question of life, in the broadest sense of the term: a unique place that illustrates the interdependency of nature.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumTogether, the Botanical Garden, Insectarium, Biodome and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium form a unique destination that reflects Québec’s knowledge, creativity and innovation.
Rio Tinto Alcan PlanetariumLocation:  Montréal, Québec, Canada
Architect: Cardin Ramirez Julien + Ædifica
Mechanic and electrician: Dupras Ledoux
Structure and civil engineering: SNC Lavalin
Scenography and multimedia: Go Multimedia
Landscape architecture: Fauteux et associés architectes paysagistes
Food services: Bernard et associés
Building code consultant: Sylvie Destroismaisons
Consultant en enveloppe du bâtiment: Patenaude Trempe
Universal accessibility: Société Logique
LEED consultant: EXP
Year: 2013
Client: Espace pour la vie
Photographs: Stéphane Brügger
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