Day 02: Montréal, Canada

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The missed-opportunity architecture:

To our fortunate surprise, May 29th happened to be the one day a year that almost all of the museums around Montréal are free to the public! So of course, the Centre Canadien d’Architecture / Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) was a must. The center wraps a new building around an old designed in 1874; an interior photo is shown above. What the photo also shows, however, is a complete misuse of this historical space. The CCA’s website describes the center as “an international research institution based on the fundamental premise that architecture is a public concern,” and yet it does nothing within this space to engage the public. I was disappointed to find rooms with great architectural detail holding merely a folding table and some folding chairs. These could be modern day salons, where the public can gather for community programs, exchange ideas, or at least reflect on their location and atmosphere.

To its credit, the newer building of the CCA does hold exhibits and has a book shop. There was even a space where visitors could learn how to artfully fold paper. But without a better integration of the old with the new, there is a missed opportunity.

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