Canadian Centre for Architecture
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) represents an important act of faith in the reconstruction of a severely damaged portion of Montreal, and the introduction not only of the Center but also of a significant landscape. The CCA is a museum and research center dedicated to the study of architecture and the built environment. Encompassing over 160,000 sq ft, the Center includes exhibition galleries, a theater, bookstore, library and research center, curatorial and conservation facilities, and controlled archival storage for books, photographs, models, and works on paper. A café and administrative offices are located in the newly restored Shaughnessy House, the 19th century mansion which existed on the site.
Bounded on three sides by highway ramps and inhabited at its center by the vandalized shell of the abandoned Shaughnessy house, the site once stood as a clear example of the city’s losing battle against the various effects of the automobile and urban blight. The surrounding residential quarter of grey stone neoclassical buildings had, for decades, suffered from dissolution and decay. The construction of the CCA building and gardens, as well as subsequent residential development in the district, now stands as proof that architecture not only has the ability to conserve, consolidate, and heal fragmented and disused urban landscapes, but can also act as a catalyst and inspiration for future growth.