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  1. Montreal hotels offer escape from tourists Graeme Hamilton, National Post MONTREAL - At street level, there is an old-world charm to parts of this city, where horse-drawn caleches roll over cobblestone streets, passing buildings dating from the French regime. But then again, the smell of horse urine can get a little pungent on a steaming-hot day, the cobblestones can do a number on your ankle if you're not careful, and for every building of historic interest there's another housing a tacky souvenir shop. Montreal's year-round inhabitants have discovered a new escape route from the tourist-clogged streets, which oddly enough begins in a hotel lobby. A number of city hotels have sprouted rooftop terrasses where the (admittedly steep) price of a beer is also said to buy you a smashing view, a chance to mix with the in crowd and in one case, a dip in the pool if the spirit moves you. The trend has been fuelled by a proliferation of boutique hotels in Old Montreal, which have helped revive a neighbourhood that had been sliding. The best of a bunch sampled recently was atop the Hotel Nelligan, just up from the waterfront on St. Paul Street West. In one direction, the view was of the St. Lawrence River, Ile Notre-Dame and Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67 apartment complex, gleaming as it caught the early-evening sun; in the other, Notre-Dame basilica loomed. Dormer windows on adjacent buildings looked very Parisian, although the music -- an eclectic mix of oldies ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Smokey Robinson -- screamed 1970s rec room. The terrasse, called Sky, does not exactly qualify as a best-kept secret. The rooftop was packed, and the area reserved for dining had an hour-long wait for a table. An even larger crowd awaited atop the Hotel Place d'Armes on the Aix terrasse. After wandering past hotel rooms to find the door leading to the roof, we were greeted by a bouncer recording each arrival and departure with a handheld counter. Asked how many people there were, he replied that the information was "confidential." A waiter said we had arrived on the patio's busiest night of the week, a Thursday. It was largely an after-work crowd looking to start the weekend early; a hotel guest looking for a relaxing cocktail in the sun would have been surprised to find a scene fit for Crescent Street, the city's famous nightclub strip. "It's happy hour," the waiter advised us, which seemed hard to believe after having just paid $7.50 for a bottle of beer. He clarified that the prices are unchanged during this particular bar's happy hour. It's just that people are happy. The view was not the best, hurt by the fact Montreal planners over the years have allowed an architectural jewel such as the basilica to be dwarfed by modern monstrosities such as the National Bank tower on Place d'Armes and the courthouse a block to the east. For a view, the hands-down winner was Hotel de la Montagne, in the city's downtown -- and not just because its rooftop pool is surrounded by bikini-clad sunbathers. On a recent evening, looking southeast we could see clear to the Eastern Townships. In the foreground was Montreal's skyline and behind us Mount Royal. The hotel has no pretense of "boutique" trendiness, from the ebony elephants and crocodile statues in the lobby to the party atmosphere on the rooftop. "People say that it is dated, so what, so is your girlfriend," a young Ohio man who recently stayed at the hotel wrote on tripadvisor.com last month. "The pool on the roof is as cool as it gets. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and the roof looked like a scene from spring break in Cancun." Our waitress advised us that the small pool is open to all customers whether they are staying at the hotel or not, "as long as you have alcohol." Not too much, she hastened to add, relating the story of a drunken man who had a contest with friends to see who could stay underwater the longest. He never came up, she said.
  2. BMW Welt by Coop Himmelb(l)au wins best of Production at WAFl Awards 2008 BMW Welt, literally “the World of BMW”, is a hybrid exhibition and automobile delivery centre designed by Austrian practice Coop Himmelb(l)au. The multi-functional centre is divided in 5 key areas: Premiere, at the center of BMW Welt, where the vehicles are handed over to customers on rotating platforms, from where they can drive out of the building via a generously sized ramp; Lounge, integrated into the roof and virtually suspended over the delivery area, supported only by the utility service shafts and a column; Forum, located in the north wing of the building, a state of the art Auditorium for up to 1200 people; Tower, in the southwest, a multifunctional area with restaurants, exhibition, sales floors and administrative offices; Double Cone, resting on eleven columns, a full-service event realm extending over several levels, including a stage with its own catering infrastructure, rotating platforms and infrastructure connections for events. Wolf D. Prix, co-founder and design principal of Coop Himmelb(l)au described the project: "The concept behind the design envisions a hybrid building representing a mixture of urban elements. Not an exhibition hall, not an information and communication centre, not a museum, but instead all of these things, along a passage organized under one roof and horizontally and vertically layered. A conjoining of urban marketplace and stage for presentations”. The WAF judges chose it as the winner amongst 12 shortlisted entries in the Produciton category and defined the scheme as “deeply indebted to Le Corbusier´s enquiring mind and dedication to experimental culture” adding that “Wolf D. Prix pursues new meanings and forms in architecture.” Incidentally BMW Welt represents the zenith of Wolf D. Prix’s fascination with turning clouds into architecture, as his words testify: "From the very start we’ve wanted to build cloud architectures and cities that change like banks of clouds.” The centre was also one of the 10 RIBA European Awards winners in 2008. Laura Sal http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10552
  3. Judge nixes bid to halt Montreal renovation LES PERREAUX From Tuesday's Globe and Mail December 16, 2008 at 3:48 AM EST MONTREAL — The owners of a Westmount house with a million-dollar view will have to give up a slice of their panorama. A judge has refused an attempt by the couple in the affluent Montreal enclave to stop a neighbour from adding a fourth storey and cutting into their spectacular view of the city below. Mr. Justice Robert Mongeon of Quebec Superior Court ruled Steven Goldberg is entitled to raise the roof on his house at 27 Bellevue Ave., even if it cuts into the sight line of his neighbours up the hill. Mireille Raymond and her husband, John Keyserlingk, sought an injunction to block an addition they say will also block sunlight and decrease the value of their $1.7-million property on Sunnyside Avenue by about 30 per cent. Those are exaggerations, Judge Mongeon ruled, after taking the unusual step of holding court on the hillside to check out the view. The judge, who was assisted by a wooden frame and yellow police tape set up on the roof of Mr. Goldberg's house to mimic the new addition, found only a small sliver of the view to the east will be blocked. "The loss must be considered in a much more realistic fashion than was initially presented," he ruled in a judgment handed down late Friday. Mr. Goldberg's lawyers pointed out that he had submitted his plans to the City of Westmount in September of 2007 and his permit was granted after an in-depth study over six months. The city argued nothing guaranteed Ms. Raymond and her husband that they would enjoy their view in perpetuity. Ms. Raymond was upset by the verdict, saying the judge, like the city, seemed to discount the importance of the unencumbered view. Ms. Raymond and Dr. Keyserlingk were ordered to
  4. MONTREAL'S FIRST 100% GREEN CONDO AND TOWNHOUSE PROJECT Overview Located minutes from Montreal’s downtown core and the historic Atwater Market, Maison Productive House (MpH) is a contemporary, green living project that offers a contemporary architecture that makes sustainable urban living bountiful and verdant. At Maison Productive House empowers consumers to live intelligently. Maison Productive House offers you two housing choices to meet you specific needs, Condo and Townhouse. Each unity offers a contemporary and green design that is both rich in space and refined in its architecture. MpH residences offer a privileged, refined living environment, which is refined and avant-garde. MpH perpetuates the exceptional architectural style with the most advanced Green (sustainable living) elements. MpH is Montreal’s first ecological design that seeks carbon-neutrality and addresses various productive aspects of a responsible lifestyle: alternative energy, food garden, active transportation, more personal productivity and leisure time. Here are some of the design principles that inspired the vision for the MpH Its walking distance from Charlevoix metro station Amenities MpH is very green. Its infrastructure can contribute to the environment instead of being as drain upon it. Maison Productive House seeks a LEED® Platinum certification and follows zero-emission development (ZED) design principles. What is unique about the MpH project is that it is Novoclimat® certified, uses Solar Panel and Geo-thermal energy; includes EnergyStar® appliances, dual-flush toilets and radiant heated floors. Additional examples of this unique project include: Onsite garden Custom-built doors kitchens and stairways using FSC or reclaimed wood or bottles No use of VOC products in lacquers, and natural fibers wherever possible (insulation, wall structure). Social and productive spaces, mixing ecological and social functions, such as: its year-round greenhouse, sauna, meditation room, and laundry room recovering grey waters and balcony. The sauna is strategically placed to allow for voluntary heat loss that directly will benefit the otherwise passively heated (solar) greenhouse. The greenhouse is supplied with recouped rainwater and filtered gray water for irrigation. Other amenities include: - Attention to linkages between outdoor and indoor spaces with the innovation of SunSpaces and ample roof, garden and balcony spaces for social interaction and growing. - Artisan bakery integrated into the residential development - Creation of possible income-streams to owners through rental spaces - Proximity to public transportation and the provision of a shared car service - Both inside and outside the greenhouse, the roof is maximized for growing vegetables. Cold-frames are integrated in the roof balustrade with seasonal covers to extend the growing season. - This social gathering area will have all the amenities for Bar-B-Qs, sun-bathing and gardening. - The Sauna uses an electrically-powered design which utilizes pine wood and is large enough for 4-6 people. - In addition to the roof greenhouse, every owner has their own private plot for growing fruits and vegetables in the garden as well as access to a fruit orchard and a herbal garden. - Water filtration systems: Units 2,4 and laundry room have recycled gray waters. Also personal units are supplied with carbon filters in the kitchen counters to provide the cleanest possible drinking water. backview They say they have 55% sold. It seems like they have 3-4 condos [only 1 left] (each are 3.5 equalling 809 sq.ft) and there is 4 townhouses [only 2 left] PDF File
  5. Quel choix de sujet pour l'article sur Montreal cette semaine dans la section CITIES dans The Guardian quand on compare avec l'article publie sur Toronto ! Jack Todd me déçoit beaucoup ! Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/06/40-year-hangover-1976-olympic-games-broke-montreal-canada?CMP=fb_a-cities_b-gdncities#comments Cities Guardian Canada week The 40-year hangover: how the 1976 Olympics nearly broke Montreal The Montreal Olympics left the city with a C$1.6bn debt, a string of corruption scandals, and a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, how did the city survive? Mayor Jean Drapeau stands in the Olympic Stadium, Montreal. Photograph: Graham Bezant/Toronto Star/Getty Cities is supported by Jack Todd in Montreal Wednesday 6 July 2016 07.30 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 6 July 201611.17 BST Shares 714 Comments 93 Save for later There is a moment before all our global sporting extravaganzas when it all seems poised on a knife edge. Helicopters hover above the stadium, keyed-up athletes shuffle and bounce with excess energy, and organisers bite their nails as they try to hold down nervous stomachs, worried that despite years of planning and the expenditure of billions, it will all go desperately wrong. Then the trumpets sound, thousands of young people take part in colourful charades, pop stars fight a losing battle with hopeless stadium acoustics – and the Games begin. The formula is pretty much set in stone, but in 1976 Montreal added a wrinkle. On 17 July, with Queen Elizabeth, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 73,000 people looking on, the Greek athletes who traditionally led the Parade of Nations came up the ramp toward the Olympic stadium to find their way almost blocked by construction workers. Out of sight of the cameras and the throng inside the stadium, the staff were frantically wielding shovels and brooms to clear away the building debris left from the manic push to complete the facility on time. In the final scrambling months before the Games, 3,000 labourers had worked in teams 24 hours a day to make it possible for the Olympics to begin at all. They barely succeeded. Two weeks later, when the last athlete had gone home, Montreal woke up to what remains the worst hangover in Olympic history: not just a bill that came in at 13 times the original estimate, a string of officials convicted of breach of trust and the greatest white elephant of a stadium ever built, but a creeping sense of economic and social decline. Forty years on, no other Olympics has so thoroughly broken a city. Facebook Twitter Pinterest The opening ceremony of the 1976 Montreal Games. Photograph: Tony Duffy/Getty Images*** Advertisement When I arrived in Montreal five years earlier, a war resister from Nebraska with little French and less money, the city was enduring its harshest winter on record. Montreal would receive more than 152 inches of snow in 1970-71, including a March blizzard that killed 17 people. The endless snow, in a sense, was a mercy. It turned down the heat on the city’s simmering political crisis, which had boiled over the previous Octoberwhen the terrorist Front du Libération du Quebec (FLQ) kidnapped the British consul, James Cross, and the province’s minister of justice, Pierre Laporte. Prime minister Trudeau responded by imposing martial law. Armoured personnel carriers patrolled the streets and troops detained hundreds of people without charges. The FLQ would murder Laporte on 17 October. They released Cross on 3 December, effectively ending the crisis but leaving the city battered, bruised and tense. Even before the kidnappings, Montreal was jittery from a series of FLQ bombs: 95 in total, the largest of which blew out the northeast wall of the Montreal Stock Exchange. And yet, in those years, the best place to get a sense of what Montreal was and might have been was Le Bistro. It was really Chez Lou Lou, although no one called it that, and it featured more or less authentic Parisian ambience, right down to the surly French waiters. When I could afford it, Le Bistro was my favourite destination on a weekend morning. One especially frigid Saturday, Leonard Cohen sat at the next table with a blonde companion, both of them sporting deepwater tans from the Greek islands, looking blasé about it all. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Leonard Cohen was born in Westmount, Montreal. Photograph: Roz Kelly/Getty ImagesMontrealers could afford to be blasé. The city was everything that Toronto, its rival, 300 miles to the south-west, was not: urbane, sophisticated, hip, a place where you could dine well and party until the bars closed at 3am. In Toronto, they rolled up the streets at 11pm and toasted the Queen at public functions. Montreal was not just the financial capital of Canada, it was also the most European of North American cities, half English-speaking but overwhelmingly French, profoundly cultured and unfailingly elegant, where the old stone of the cathedrals met the Bauhaus steel-and-glass towers of Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square. The crowd at Le Bistro was a cross-section of cultural and political life in a city full of tensions, between separatism and federalism, English, French and Jewish, old money and new. There were political tensions that seemed to feed a creative ferment home that produced Cohen, the bombastic poet Irving Layton, the acerbic novelist Mordecai Richler, the politicians Pierre Trudeau and René Lévesque, the actor Geneviève Bujold and the film-maker Denys Arcand. The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby Jean Drapeau, in 1970 When, on 12 May 1970, during the 69th session of the International Olympic Committee held in Amsterdam, Montreal won out over competing bids from Moscow and Los Angeles to be awarded the Games of the XXI Olympiad, it seemed to signal another triumph. The city had hosted one of the most successful World’s Fairs ever in 1967, and a new baseball team, the Expos, began play in 1969, defeating the St Louis Cardinals 8-7 on 14 April at Jarry Park in the first regular season Major League game in Canada. Following those triumphs, the Olympics were sold to the Montreal public as being modest in design and, above all, inexpensive to stage. The mayor, Jean Drapeau – diminutive, autocratic, mustachioed – declared: “The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby.” *** Facebook Twitter Pinterest Leger (left) and Drapeau (right), listen as Taillibert describes the layout of Parc Olympique. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveThe 1970 estimate was that the Games would cost C$120m (£65m) in total, with $71m budgeted for the Olympic Stadium itself. Drapeau took a personal hand in the stadium’s design. He and his chief engineer, Claude Phaneuf, selected the French architect Roger Taillibert, who had built the Parc des Princes in Paris and would also design the Olympic Village. Taillibert employed his own team of architects and engineers, and was respected for bringing in projects at, or at least near, budget. (The Parc des Princes, originally budgeted at $12m, cost $18m .) His conception for the “Big O” stadium was grandiose, in a style that might be called space-age fascist: it featured an enormous, inclined tower, the tallest such structure in the world, holding a retractable roof suspended from thick cables and looming over the stadium like a praying mantis over a turtle. There is no evidence, however, that either Taillibert or Drapeau ever had a handle on the management of the various construction sites. There were delays from the very beginning, and construction on the Olympic Park complex (including the Velodrome and Big O) began 18 months late, on 28 April 1973. This put Drapeau right where the powerful and militant Quebec labour unions (the Quebec Federation of Labour and the Confederation of National Trade Unions) wanted him: paying extravagant overtime bills. Out of a total of 530 potential working days between December 1974 and April 1976, the workers would be on strike for 155 days – 30% of the work time available. In one particularly crucial period of construction, from May until the end of October 1975, less than a year before the opening ceremonies were to commence, the unions walked off the job and no work was done at all. Oversight was utterly inadequate on every aspect of the project. During the inflationary 1970s, the price of structural steel alone tripled. In 1973, contractor Regis Trudeau, who had been awarded $6.9m in Olympic construction contracts, built a luxurious chalet costing $163,000 for Gerard Niding, who was Drapeau’s right-hand man and head of Montreal city council’s powerful executive committee. Only when a corruption commission forced his hand, five years later, did Trudeau finally produce a bill charging Niding for the house. Game off! Why the decline of street hockey is a crisis for our kids Read more By 1975, the provincial government had seen enough: they removed Taillibert and formed the Olympic Installations Board (pdf) (OIB) in an attempt to get a handle on the construction. Ironically, no one has since delivered a pithier assessment of the corruption than Taillibert himself. In 2011, he told le Devoir: “The construction of the Olympic Park and stadium showed me a level of organised corruption, theft, mediocrity, sabotage and indifference that I had never witnessed before and have never witnessed since. The system failed completely and every civil engineering firm involved knew they could just open this veritable cash register and serve themselves.” Drapeau himself was never charged or even suspected of personal corruption, but his remark about men having babies came back to haunt him. At the time, the physician Henry Morgentaler was much in the news for openly performing abortions. As the Olympic bill nearly tripled, to $310m, Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin drew one of the most famous cartoons of a brilliant career: it depicted a visibly pregnant Drapeau on the phone, saying: “‘Ello? Morgentaler?” *** When the Games finally opened, problems plagued the event itself, too. As it would do with debt, corruption and construction chaos, the Montreal Olympics inspired a trend in boycotts, when 22 African nations refused to participatebecause the IOC would not ban New Zealand for sending the All Blacks rugby team to tour apartheid South Africa. It caught on: western nations boycotted Moscow in 1980 over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and communist nations retaliated in Los Angeles in 1984. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Design Pics Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoMontreal also broke the mould in security. Following the terrorist tragedy at Munich four years earlier, the security bill ended up running to another $100m (more than 80% of what the entire event was initially supposed to cost), not including the cost of the Canadian forces enlisted to help keep order. Meanwhile, some of the athletes were tainted by accusations of doping, including legendary Finnish postman and distance runner Lasse Virén, who was suspected of transfusing his own blood – a practice that was legal at the time, though Viren has always denied it. Far more serious was the treatment of East German athletes, who dominated their events in part because, the world later learned, they’d been fed performance-enhancing drugs for decades, sometimes without their knowledge, under a programme known as State Plan 14.25. Many later suffered psychological problems and had children with birth defects. The struggle in Iqaluit: north and south collide in Canada's Arctic capital Read more In the end, the athletes themselves redeemed at least some portion of the Olympic expense: the Games themselves went off relatively well. If the relentlessly self-promoting American decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner caused a few eyeballs to roll, he was overshadowed by the refrigerator-built Soviet weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev, who repeated his heavyweight gold from Munich and set an Olympic record in the snatch while lifting 440kg. And in the first full day of competition, the 14-year-old diminutive Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci earned a perfect 10 on the uneven bars – she went on to become the 1976 Olympics’ unquestioned individual star. Canada, meanwhile, became the first host nation to fail to win a gold medal on home soil, a feat made no less exceptional for being repeated at the Calgary Winter Olympics 12 years later. The glow began to fade with the closing ceremonies on 1 August. The final tally of the cost for the Olympics was $1.6bn, a more than 13-fold increase, including at least $1.1bn for the stadium alone. In popular lore, the Big O had officially become the Big Owe. When all was said and done, the city was left with debt that took 30 years to pay off. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Nadia Comăneci, of Romania, dismounts during a perfect 10 performance. Photograph: Paul Vathis/AP*** On 15 November 1976, running on a platform of good government in the wake of the scandals and cost overruns, René Lévesque’s separatist Parti Québecois (PQ) won its first provincial election. The PQ’s promise to hold a referendum on leaving Canada touched off a full-scale anglophone panic in bilingual Montreal, especially within the business community. Sun Life, the huge insurance company, was the first of a stream of Montreal-based corporations to move down Highway 401 to Toronto. When the referendum was eventually held in 1980, Lévesque and the “yes” side lost decisively, but by the end of the 1980s Canada’s financial capital had shifted firmly from St Jacques Street to Bay Street, Toronto. Between 1971 and 1981, the English-speaking population of Montreal declined by nearly 100,000; over the next 20 years – which included another referendum in 1995, that only kept Quebec in Canada by a narrow margin of 50.6% to 49.4% – it would shrink by another 100,000. It would take 30 years for the city of Montreal to retire the Olympic debt Like some medieval castle under a warlock’s curse, the Olympic stadium – visible from dozens of different vantage points in the city, an inescapable reminder of what went wrong – continued to be plagued with problems. In the 1980s, the tower caught fire. In August of 1986, a chunk of it fell on to the baseball field, forcing the Expos to postpone a game. In September of 1991, a bigger 55-tonne concrete slab fell on to an empty walkway. The OIB reassured the public no one was underneath it, prompting one columnist to ask: “How do they know?” The retractable roof never happened; instead, an orange Kevlar roof was finally installed in April of 1987. It tore repeatedly, until it was replaced in 1998 by a fixed roof, which cost another $37m. In the winter of the next year, that roof tore under a heavy snow load, sending a small avalanche of ice cascading on to workers preparing for a motor show. To this day, in a northern Canadian city that averages roughly 50cm of snow a month in winter, the Olympic Stadium cannot be used if the snow load exceeds 3cm. The OIB claims the only thing more expensive than a permanent steel roof (estimated cost: $200m-$300m) would be to tear the whole thing down (estimated cost: $1bn). Their figure has been widely debunked. The roof remains in place, and the Big O now lacks a full-time tenant: the Expos played their last game in 2004 and the franchise moved to Washington DC. Facebook Twitter Pinterest The 200,000 sq ft, 65-tonne Kevlar roof at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal was expected to last 25 years. Photograph: Shaun Best/ReutersThe stadium aside, Montreal did get some bang for its Olympic buck. The excellent Claude Robillard Sports Centre in the city’s north end is still used by thousands of athletes, and the one-time Velodrome has been converted to the Biodome, an enormously popular indoor nature museum. The claim has also been made that the Montreal Olympics proper turned a profit, which is true only if you chalk up the various purpose-built venues, the stadium in particular, to infrastructure. In any case, it would take 30 years for the city of Montreal to retire the Olympic debt. A commission headed by superior court judge Albert Malouf to probe Olympic corruption spent three years, and another $3m, before releasing a 908-page report in 1980 that laid blame squarely at the feet of the mayor. Taillibert, Phaneuf and others shared some of the responsibility, in Malouf’s view, but Drapeau was the principal culprit, with his hands-on style and his habit of turning a blind eye to the shenanigans around him. Top officials and contractors were convicted of fraud and corruption. They included Niding, Drapeau’s right-hand man, who was convicted of breach of trust and sentenced to one day in jail and a $75,000 fine, and contractor Regis Trudeau, who also received a one-day jail sentence and a $100,000 fine. Even Claude Rouleau, head of the OIB installed to stop the bleeding, was found guilty of breach of trust for accepting gifts in connection with the Olympic construction and was ordered to pay $31,000. Fining the miscreants, unfortunately, didn’t help pay off much of the debt. In order to rid itself of the Olympic burden city hall had to skimp on urban essentials for years. Even now, with a belated rush to repair its crumbling infrastructure,Montreal is still paying the price for decades of neglect. *** Forty years on, however, Montreal has endured. The sour jokes about the stadium, the corruption and the Olympic debt are now part of the culture. The separatist movement that convulsed the city in the immediate aftermath of the debacle also brought some much-needed social change. Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world Read more Montreal survived by reinventing itself on a smaller, more viable scale. If Toronto seized the mantle of Canada’s financial capital, Montreal is the unquestioned capital of culture, a vibrant city of street art, sculpture and world-class jazz, fireworks, comedy and fringe festivals, the city no longer just of Leonard Cohen but of Arcade Fire and Cirque du Soleil. Le Bistro is long gone, but Montreal is still hip, the bars and restaurants and clubs the liveliest in the country, a walking city where the cafes are full all day long and joie de vivretrumps quotidian worries over such inconvenient details as bounced rent cheques and unpaid parking tickets. Montreal remains the polar opposite of money and real-estate obsessed Toronto – though where it was once a smaller, colder Paris, Montreal is now more North American, less European, less blithely certain of its position in the universe. Nevertheless, the Olympic debt is paid, separatism is a diminished force and there is even a tentative plan afoot to bring back the Expos. When spring finally comes after the long winters, there is a buoyant sense of rebirth and confidence in the future. If you can ignore the potholes and the still-simmering controversies over municipal corruption, Montreal is once again a great place to live. But you can’t escape the sense that the city might have had it all. In truth, before the Olympics, it did. Guardian Cities is devoting a week to exploring all things Canada. Get involved onTwitter and Facebook and share your thoughts with #GuardianCanada
  6. Why is this forest floating 1000 feet above Taiwan's skyline, apparently sitting on a blue glow of anti-gravity beams? It's the Taiwan Tower, a giant steel superstructure that may become the most surreal piece of engineering I've ever seen. The renderings give you an idea of how weird and wonderful this thing will be. It really blows my mind to think that they are actually going to build this ethereal steel column labyrinth, which would be as tall as the Eiffel Tower. The banyan tree-like design, which was created by Tokyo-based architect Sou Fujimoto, just won the first prize in the Taiwan Tower International Competition. It would be made entirely of steel, with perimeter columns, inner columns, intermediate columns, spiral beams and roof beams all of them circular, 800 millimeters in diameter and hollow. It will be surrounded by parks. In fact, it will look as if someone cut a wedge of the terrain and pushed up in the air. [Sou Fujimoto viaArchdaily] Republished from http://gizmodo.com
  7. Completed Vancouver Convention Centre West goes for Leed Gold certification Vancouver's waterfront has a spectacular new addition in the completion of Vancouver Convention Centre West, the city's latest flagship eco-development which triples the total square footage and functional capacity of the Centre and completes the development of the public realm. With 6 acres of green roof it boasts the largest in Canada, and the largest non-industrial green roof in North America. This combined with many other eco-measures is set to help the project achieve LEED Canada Gold certification. The project consists of 1.2 million sq ft divided into exhibition space, meeting rooms, 90,000 sq ft of retail space, a 55,000 sq ft ballroom and 400,000 sq ft of public realm including walkways and bikeways. All in, the project promises to be “a celebration of people and place and a model of sustainability”. Architects LMN worked in collaboration with Vancouver-based Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects & Planners to design the centre which will be used as a hub to support 7,000 media during the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. But not suffice to support homosapians, a key element of the design was the restoration of the shoreline and marine habitat. Having worked with marine scientists, an underwater habitat skirt or artificial reef was developed as part of the centre’s foundation and now provides new habitat for barnacles, mussels, seaweed, starfish, crabs and various fish species. The green roof too is home to 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, providing natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals. But it will also provide vital insulation for the building. Other eco-measures include black water treatment and desalinization, a heat pump system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of adjacent seawater, extensive use of controlled daylighting and energy efficient fixtures. Local materials including locally harvested Douglas fir and Hemlock have been used for wood finishes reducing the harmful effects of transportation on the environment. Vancouver is a mixed bag of spectacular natural environment with an impressive urban core. This latest addition attempts to blend the two and create a synergy, acting as a powerful visual ambassador of the Pacific Northwest region’s commitment to sustainability. Niki May Young News Editor http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11387
  8. WARNING: VERY LARGE PICTURES AHEAD also see my Montréal from 75m up + pano thread. I met a friend of a friend who's a security supervisor in the tallest building in Montréal. He heard about my photography so he agreed on bringing me to the roof of 1000 rue de la Gauchètiere. I was so excited that I did not wait, I called him the next day ( i did not want him to forget about it) and showed up. It wasn't a sunny day and i only had a super wide zoom ( i regretted that later because a zoom is much need up there ). It was not easy to take the pictures because its not easy to access the roof all around. So not all the angles are covered... sigh... I couldn't get the northern side where we see the center of the CBD and the mountain. Did i tell you how excited I was? Once back down on earth i realized i had shoot everything in the medium format... i wanted RAW I also decided to include very high res pictures in this thread so you guys can see all the details. The good news is that I will be back there with super zoom on a sunny day to get more more more Anyhow, here goes: it starts here: A view to the west and 1250 René-Lévesque: At the bottom, the Bell Center, and coming right into the heart of the city the Ville Marie 720 highway. Don't look down (no barrier whatsoever): A northwestern view, with the Mountain, the St-Joseph Oratory and for the first time some stuff from the other side of the mountain. Condos condos condos... and St-Henri in the background: The St-Lawrence river in the background with nun's island condos: west cluster: Looks like simcity :koko: Top: Champlain bridge, busiest bridge in Canada I think. Middle: heart of industrial Canada in the 19th century with the Lachine Canal. Bottom: Old industrial buildings being converted into... condos With the Engineering school on the right. Mini pano with the Victoria bridge and the St-Lawrence seaway. Mini pano with the Casino (white and gold buildings) and Habitat 67: Mini pano with St-Helene island, the southshore and the Tour de la Bourse in the foreground. Mini pano with the Jacques-Cartier bridge (with LaRonde amusement park), the old port in the foreground and very further the "new" port, the Longueuil talls are in the middle on the other side of the bridge. Mini pano with the River going as far as the eye can see and the eastern part of Montréal: La tour de la Bourse with parts of Old Montréal: The international quarter, notice the roof-park on the very bottom of the picture: Mini pano, blurry because the camera was held at arms' lenght, we see part of the mountain, place ville marie ... that would be the best angle in my opinion if there was some kind of access... but there's none giving to that part of the city: A last closeup of Old Montréal: Finally the two giant panos. The view to the west: To the east:
  9. http://inhabitat.com/skye-halifax-green-skyscrapers-to-be-the-tallest-towers-in-nova-scotia/