Urban Prairie | Gatineau Canada | Claude Cormier + Associés with Aedifica

From World Landscape Architecture beautiful contours and flowing forms of an urban prairie created in an oversized courtyard, with its acknowledgements of the seasons and indigenous plantings it creates an area of openness with local enclosure in benches and seats – moderately urban -yet wilder, like the works of SWA in Denmark it reflects the needs of wildness and nature in dense urban environments – quite at odds with the  pure pragmatics of later day urban-“isms” striving to replicate the scale and texture of traditional gridded cities.

By Damian Holmes

Canadian Museum of Civilization PlazaFall view from the Museum | ©Claude Cormier + Associés inc.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization, designed by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and inaugurated in 1989, is comprised of two pavilions, their architecture a startling embodiment of the country’s distinguishing geographical features. The public display wing replicates the dramatic effect of the glaciers; the contours of the curatorial wing symbolize the majestic Canadian Shield; and the open Plaza simulates the vast Great Plains. The layout and sheer size of the Plaza were planned in such a way as to visually incorporate the Museum buildings and the Parliament Buildings perched across the Ottawa River. However, the Plaza’s lack of appeal had left it empty of visitors for much of the year. To remedy the situation, we extended the Museum’s original conceptual metaphor, bringing to life what had long remained latent: the swaying grasses of the Prairies.

Canadian Museum of Civilization Plaza

1 Existing garden 2 Museum Building 3 Curatorial Wing 4 Plaza_Urban Prairie 5 Parliament Building view ©Claude Cormier + Associés inc.

Plantation colour in fall ©Claude Cormier + Associés inc.

Read and see more pictures