Dumping Grounds to Soccer Stadium: Montréal’s innovative land reuse

Stade de Soccer de Montréal Saucier+Perrotte Architectes
This photo of Le Stade de Soccer de Montréal shows the cross-laminated timber beams overhead of the indoor field. These beams seem random but are actually placed strategically to accommodate  areas where more support is necessary to support the load.
Photo © Olivier Blouin

By Jennifer Wilson
Le Stade de Soccer de Montréal, completed in April 2015, is a new sustainable design icon for the city. However, the area was not always so appealing. Before being adapted into a sports facility, the land was used as a limestone quarry, and then as a dumping site. Throughout these transitions, the natural typography of the site was dramatically altered.

To reinvigorate the site, the city launched an architectural competition in June 2011 with the goal of designing an indoor soccer stadium for local soccer teams, players, fans, and community. The winning design was submitted by Saucier + Perrotte and  Hughes Condon Marler Architects. The indoor facility includes an interior soccer field, bleachers, administrative offices, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, and a cafeteria. It cost a total of $39.9 million to construct. The facility boasts an average of 450 visitors a day and has already hosted the French, Brazilian, Korean, and Canadian women’s national soccer teams in preparation for the FIFA World Cup of 2015, which included games at the nearby Olympic Stadium.


Sustainability model
The structure uses wood, glass, and recycled materials in its composition, while saving energy using a white roof and geothermal technology. Along with another vegetated roofing assembly and trees along the Papineau Avenue embankment, this enabled a reduction in urban heat islands, while beautifying the area. The site further utilizes nature by using water management and retention basins for an annual potable water consumption of 1.55 million L (409,500 gal).

Stade de Soccer de Montréal Saucier+Perrotte Architectes
The site of the stadium has changed drastically throughout the years. The design of the stadium was partially inspired by the typography and history of the site. For instance the material used on the roof is reminiscent of the site’s previous life as a quarry.
Photo © Olivier Blouin

Additional energy efficiency was achieved through strategic use of:

  • lighting design;
  • insulation;
  • equipment;
  • HVAC;
  • heat recuperation;
  • high performance/efficiency glazing and envelope; and
  • movement detectors.

The combination of these elements helps the facility with an annual energy consumption of 15,834 ekWh (equivalent kilowatt hours). The stadium is also currently pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating and an exemplary Performance LEED credit for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood (i.e. >95 per cent).

The stadium is located on the former Miron quarry site, which was foremost a limestone mine and later a dumping ground. This geologic history is tied into the new building through the use of mineral stratum on the roof. Additionally, the roof mirrors the typography of the site and actually cantilevers over the entry plaza and down to the ground, where it is used as spectator seating for the outdoor soccer fields.

To maintain continuity throughout the project, cross-laminated timber (CLT) was used in a seemingly random crisscross pattern on the bottom of the entrance overpass, and on the ceiling of the indoor field. However, the pattern is not random—on closer inspection,beams become denser according to where more structural support is necessary.

Stade de soccer de Montréal_#4
This cantilevered bridge spans the entryway and serves as bleacher seating for the outdoor field.
Photo © Olivier Blouin

This continuity is continued through the flow of the design into the building itself. The structure was designed to follow the site’s shape to merge the indoors space with the outdoor typography.

A large berm runs along Papineau Avenue, one of the city’s major arteries, and home of a residential neighborhood. When the site was converted, the berm was left in place not to hide the complex from the city, but to preserve the existing trees and to mark the presence of the park next to it, and to facilitate access to the complex. For this purpose an elevated pedestrian pathway was integrated.

This model of adaptive reuse shows how using the right materials and design can make even the most unappealing of sites into something useful for the community and city. This stadium is part of a larger strategy to turn the former landfill and limestone quarry into the largest park in Canada’s only United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated City of Design.

To watch a video about the stadium origins, click here.

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