Location : Lachine, MontrealClient : Group PacificIn collaboration with : BNIM architects Landscape architects : NIP PaysageEcology and landscape consultants : A-D NaturalistsEcology, landscape, and living architecture consultants : Rana Creek Living ArchitectureEnergy, green building and sustainable developments consultants : BuildGreen SolutionsEnergy, bioclimatic and mechanical design consultants : Archineers Consulting Ltd.Consulting engineers - mechanical design : Pageau Morel et associésTransportation planning and traffic engineering consutants : Aecom-TecsultTransportation planning and street design consultants : Glatting Jackson Kercher AnglinStreet and shared space design : Hamilton Baillie Associates Ltd.Civil engineering consultants : VINCI Consultants
A large urban scheme on a golf-course
A new neighborhood on the island of Montréal, projet Petite Rivière, is being carefully planned to make a 70% ecological footprint reduction practical and convenient for its residents to achieve while improving quality of daily life. Led by L’OEUF (Olivier Pearl Poddubiuk et associés architects) in collaboration with BNIM architects of Kansas City (www.BNIM.com), winner of the 2011 AIA Architecture Firm Award, Groupe Pacific has assembled a large team of experienced professionals covering a wide range of themes, to analyse and explore a series of design strategies suitable to this unique site. This collaborative “integrated design” method helped introduce best practices from leading urban projects as far afield as Europe, and tailor them to the site as well as Montreal’s climate and market. Located on an existing golf course, the goal is simple. This project envisions a neighborhood that strengthens community, provides a healthier quality of life, is economically viable and restores nature.
Existing North American cities not only bear witness to aging physical infrastructure – built way beyond our planet’s ecological footprint limitations – but even more challenging, they continue to anchor active layers that established a generation’s social infrastructure. One of the prime opportunities for extensive renewal of our built fabric – both infrastructure and quality of life via “greening and densifying”, is in our “diffused suburbs” and their neighboring fringe industrial belts straddling the inner city-cores, mostly built in the 1950’s and 60’s. These older communities have not yet been upgraded with massive infrastructure investments and thus have not YET made any irreversible mistakes.
Searching for A BALANCE
One of the most challenging tasks facing us in Canada is how to modify the socio-economic and ecological footprint of our suburbs. Without the wholesale erasure of millions of hectares of low-density residential developments, we will need to urbanize large parts of suburbia. Petite Rivière, like hundreds of similar projects across Canada, borders train tracks and faces these exact challenges and opportunities. Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) can provide increased density, renewed infrastructure, and increased high quality green spaces with true biodiversity and natural habitat regeneration. As governments put forth national and provincial policies to finance efficient public transit, homeowners will be given an alternative to the car-strapped lifestyle of most suburbs.
Necessary Ingredients: Partnering with the City and other agencies
Stretching current practice will heavily depend on transforming how communities partner with their developers, where ethical city building and profitable rehabilitation will need to co-exist.
Petite Rivière is a residential project located in Montreal at the crossroads of Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal West and the Borough of Lachine. Groupe Pacific, the developer, has owned the site (currently zoned residential) since 2006 and is planning an avant-gardist urban community that puts forward a project that goes beyond current standards in many areas of construction and urban planning in order to enhance the entire inherent potential of the site. It is being designed to potentially become Zero Carbon and Zero Waste by 2020, using design principles of walkability, mixed use, connectivity, compactness, regeneration and community. The strategy for achieving the target of carbon neutral energy consumption in the buildings includes energy-efficient building envelopes and passive energy building design. It also includes the potential for the progressive phasing in of a district energy system supplied by a variety of renewable and waste energy sources such as a ground source heat pump system or biogas from a proposed nearby municipal waste-to-energy plant.
Located in the Lachine borough of Montréal, the proposed mixed-use neighbourhood is expected to include about 1,500 to 1,900 homes with most buildings being three to eight storeys, with a range of commercial space at the ground level of the buildings near the centre of the community. The project’s built form is planned to preserve the trees and habitat corridors that currently grace the site, including a creek corridor. The plan is to restore and enhance these natural features and add new trees and habitat. The built area is expected to occupy less than half of the site, leaving the possibility for a large public green space, including food growing space for both occupants and the public. About 40 per cent of the site is to be covered with tree canopy, conserving most of the existing trees, and increasing the current tree coverage of the site.
A wide range of housing typologies, sizes and tenures are planned to enhance affordability with a goal of about 20 to 30 per cent of the homes eligible for Montréal’s Home Ownership Program. All proposed homes are to be within a 10 minute walk (and most within a 5 minute walk) of necessary services such as a grocery store and public transit. Proposals to encourage development of off-site complementary functions and services will support improved access to existing public transit and a proposed commuter train/bus hub.
The water efficiency systems are to be designed to optimize integrated built and natural systems. For example, wetland designs inspired by natural system principles are planned to treat rainwater and stormwater collected on-site for irrigation.
More information on Petite Rivière can be found at the following website: http://www.petite-riviere.com/en/index.asp