Architecture and urban landscape
Discover Québec’s diverse architecture
Over time Québec’s built heritage has evolved with its environment, climate, French, English and Acadian influences, and architectural trends. In major cities like Montréal, it has also been transformed by economic development, which explains the many styles found side by side, and the juxtaposition of old and new.
In both rural and urban settings, vestiges of the past are part and parcel of Québec’s DNA. In cities this is observed in the many heritage buildings concentrated in the historic districts of Old Montréal and Old Québec. The latter, with its fortifications, earned a designation as a Unesco World Heritage site. Discover these architectural treasures by taking one of the many available guided tours.
“M” for Montréal and modern
As the population increased, narrow two- and three-storey apartment buildings proliferated in Montréal and those staircases built on the outside so as not to impede on indoor space remain to this day one of the most emblematic features of the metropolis. Just take a quick tour of the Plateau Mont-Royal borough and you will see!
But the sixties signaled the arrival of modernism, and would considerably alter the city’s urban landscape. Several unusual structures were erected for Expo 67, including Richard Buckminster Fuller’s United States Pavilion, which later became the Biosphère – Environment Museum. There was also Montréal’s metro, famous for the unique art incorporated in each of its stations, and the innovative Habitat 67 housing complex, designed by architect Moshe Sardie, which was built from 158 stacked cement forms, reminiscent of Lego building blocks. The city’s modernization reached new heights in 1976 with the inauguration of the Olympic Stadium, the highest inclined tower in the world designed by French architect Roger Taillibert. During this especially effervescent period for the city of Montréal, several skyscrapers were erected in the downtown core, but none higher than Mount Royal, a highly symbolic feature that is home to a sprawling park created by the same architect who designed New York’s Central Park.
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