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  1. Local architect pledges to stop the ‘joke’ of high-rise Rotterdam World War II saw the destruction of many cities around Europe and not least hit was the city of Rotterdam. While devastating on a human and financial scale this allowed the city to evolve into what is now considered as the ‘high rise city of the Netherlands’. But local architect Jan Willem van Kuilenburg, principal of Monolab Architects has derided this label as ‘a joke’ calling for an extension to the local authorities’ planned high rise zone to the south and proposes Rotterdam's first super-tower, the 450 m high City Tower. “Rotterdam is too hesitant, too defensive and too much like an underdog. After the Erasmus bridge we are in need of a real skyscraper of European scale of which Rotterdam can be proud,” says Kuilenburg, “All currently realised towers in Rotterdam are of mediocre quality and very primitive. As we should save in prosperous periods, it makes the current economic crisis the right time to invest.” Kuilenburg proposes City Tower as the leader in this campaign. The 450 m mixed-use tower with a photovoltaic skin would be built in the water by the Maas Harbour. According to Kuilenburg it would allow the high-rise zone to serve the whole city and help to connect Europe’s largest port to the rest of the city. The tower would be connected to land via a steel pedestrian boulevard to a separate parking lot with the capacity for 1000 cars. Kuilenburg believes this element of the project could aid the local authorities’ plans to liberate the downtown area of traffic by creating a 6th park and ride zone with its close proximity to the Metro. Asked about the likely response from the people of Rotterdam to what would be a very bold visual landmark, Kuilenburg said: “I don’t know. In general Rotterdam people are proud of the skyline, they are energetic and ready to go for new proposals. It has always been a scene for experiment. Rotterdam was bombed in the Second World War and so new buildings emerged, since then people are used to change.” Kuilenburg is currently in talks with developers and calling for international investment for the project. Niki May Young News Editor
  2. Talk about orchestral manoeuvres A young Montreal conductor has landed two high-profile gigs in Europe. It may be a while before Canada gets him back to lead an orchestra at home, writes Robert Everett-Green ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN February 4, 2008 How did he get that job? A lot of conductors must have had that thought about Yannick Nézet-Séguin recently, probably more than once. Till last spring, Nézet-Séguin was known mainly in the Montreal area, as the music director of l'Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and a frequent conductor of l'Opéra de Montréal. His guest-conducting appearances elsewhere in Canada and the United States had been well received, and he had built a respectable library of recordings with the ATMA label in Quebec. It seemed only a matter of time before the 32-year-old Montrealer began to move up the ladder of orchestral jobs in Canada. Everything changed in April, when Nézet-Séguin surprised everyone (including himself) by becoming the next principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He will replace Valery Gergiev, one of the most prominent and exciting conductors on the planet. In November, the London Philharmonic announced that they too wanted a steady relationship with the young Canadian, who will become the orchestra's principal guest conductor at about the same time he starts work in the Netherlands next fall. His first gigs with his new colleagues are still months away, but Nézet-Séguin seems certain to become the most prominent orchestral conductor Canada has ever produced. Print Edition - Section Front getSLinks("topStoriesInSection","LAC.20080204.SEGUIN04",5); Historically, we've done better in the world's opera houses, both in singing and conducting. Wilfrid Pelletier was a fixture on the podium at the Metropolitan Opera in the forties, Mario Bernardi conducted Sadlers Wells in the sixties, and Yves Abel and Keri-Lynn Wilson (conductors of Nézet-Séguin's generation) both have busy careers, mainly in Europe. Nézet-Séguin had only done a handful of concerts in Europe before arriving in Rotterdam for his debut program as a guest conductor, some months after Gergiev had announced his departure. He knew they were shopping, and liked the idea of a job in Europe, but thought it would take another four or five years to get one. "I never imagined I was a real candidate," he said during a phone conversation, in advance of four performances in Toronto. "Maybe that's what got me the job, because I didn't act like someone who wanted the job. I just worked the way I always do." Even so, he was aware that he was coming under sharper scrutiny than usual, from players who have a lot of sway individually over who runs the show. "An orchestra in a search is always a strange animal," he said. "I could feel they were testing me more than usual, asking more questions, resisting things I was asking them to do, to see if I had the balls to go ahead." He describes himself as a risk-taker, willing to follow the impulse of the moment in performance even if it means colouring over the lines a little. That approach got a strong stamp of approval from the Dutch musicians, who voted unanimously in favour of his appointment. His candidacy was also helped by his repertoire, if only because it doesn't overlap much with that of his predecessor. Gergiev's programs included plenty of Russian works, while Nézet-Séguin favours French music and late-Romantic Germanic repertoire: the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, and the tone poems and orchestral songs of Richard Strauss. The same logic advanced Nézet-Séguin's case at the London Philharmonic, which was looking for a foil for its new principal conductor, Vladimir Jurowski. The orchestra had a "great tradition" in the works of Mahler and Bruckner during the reign of the late Klaus Tennstedt, Nézet-Séguin said, and they wanted someone to carry that on. He said he has been offered "almost total freedom" in programming his four concerts a year. Nézet-Séguin initially studied piano with Anisia Campos at the Conservatoire in Montreal, though he knew he wanted to be a conductor by the time he was 10. He was particularly impressed by his early experience of concerts in a park, given by Charles Dutoit and l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. "Dutoit would introduce pieces and be very accessible, and that had a big impact on me as a little boy," he said. "If it had not been for this, I would maybe never have been a conductor." He began singing in the Catholic Cathedral choir when he was 8 or 9, eventually became a section leader, and took over as music director at age 18. He did extra work in harmony, analysis and history at the Conservatoire, but only took one year of formal conducting study, with Raffi Armenian. "My main conducting teacher was actually my piano teacher, because a conductor is also an interpreter," he said. "She was a very old-school teacher, very strict and demanding. She wouldn't allow any compromise in my piano study just because I wanted to be a conductor. I remember some years, I was really angry with her, because she wanted to develop some aspect of my playing that I considered very superficial. But I'm so grateful now. I couldn't have wished for a better teacher." He spent a couple of summers at a choral-conducting workshop in Princeton, N.J., and a year of informal study with Carlo Maria Giulini, whom he followed around Europe, sitting in on rehearsals and occasionally meeting with the conductor. Nézet-Séguin was much impressed by Giulini's "very simple and human approach to everything, to the music and to the musicians. He was very calm and respectful and collegial, whether he was working with l'Orchestre de Paris or a Spanish youth orchestra. I didn't know what to do with the amount of respect he was showing me." Gradually he realized that he was being taught the value of an open, trusting attitude, toward others and inevitably toward oneself. Ironically, he never had much contact with his first conducting hero, Dutoit. "I tried twice to get permission to attend rehearsals with the OSM. I wrote them two letters, that were never answered." The usual route for young Canadian conductors trying to get noticed is to enter competitions, leave the country, and jockey for an assistant's job with some well-known conductor. Nézet-Séguin was considering those options when l'Orchestre Métropolitain asked him to become its music director in 2000. "When they offered me the job, I was really ready to leave, and become an assistant somewhere else," he said. Some people even counselled him to do that anyway, because they feared that if he stayed in Montreal with the city's "second" orchestra, he would be seen as a merely local conductor. "I'm very thankful that Canada trusted me very early," he said. "Because I did not really expect that." He remains fiercely loyal to his home town and his first orchestra. When the Berlin Philharmonic approached him with an offer to conduct three concerts in December, he turned them down, because he was already booked to perform several school concerts with l'Orchestre Métropolitain. "It's a matter of survival, musically and personally, to be part of my own community," he said. His parents and two sisters, who are all teachers, still live in Montreal, and he expects to return often once he takes up his posts in Europe. And he plans to take Canadian music with him in the other direction. His Dutch audiences are probably ready for more Canadian music: Montreal's Claude Vivier may actually be better known in the Netherlands than in Canada, thanks to a major retrospective of the late composer's music at the Holland Festival several years ago. "Rotterdam is a very modern city, and is known for its modern architecture and contemporary art," Nézet-Séguin said. "But the orchestra is quite conservative. So one of the goals is to develop the range of repertoire and to try to be more daring." It sounds like a good berth for a young conductor with an appetite for risk. The next question on this side of the water is whether we'll ever get him back, to lead a major Canadian orchestra. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a Tchaikovsky program with l'Orchestre Métropolitain at various Montreal-area venues from tonight through Friday ( He performs music of Tchaikovsky and Dvorak with pianist Yundi Li and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 13, 14 and 16 at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall; and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Toronto's Bach Consort at Eglinton St. George's United Church on Feb. 15.
  3. Alors que le port de Montréal a connu un premier semestre meilleur que l'année record 2007, le port de Rotterdam s'intéresse à la vision de développement durable du PDG Patrice Pelletier. Pour en lire plus...
  4. Vents favorables au port de Montréal 28 août 2008 - 06h45 La Presse Hugo Fontaine La vision de développement durable du nouveau PDG du port de Montréal, Patrice Pelletier, intéresserait le port de Rotterdam. Alors que le port de Montréal a connu un premier semestre qui surpasse les résultats de l'année record 2007, le port de Rotterdam s'intéresse à la vision de développement durable du président-directeur général, Patrice Pelletier. Une collaboration pourrait naître entre le plus grand port d'Europe et l'un des ports à la plus forte croissance de la côte est américaine. Dans une période où l'économie vacille, le trafic cumulatif de conteneurs a augmenté de 7,9% au port de Montréal durant le premier semestre. Le port ne prévoyait qu'une croissance de 4 à 5%, selon ce qu'a indiqué Patrice Pelletier à l'occasion d'une entrevue avec La Presse Affaires. Le trafic total, quant à lui, a augmenté de 7%. «Cela nous place en excellente position en Amérique du Nord», précise le dirigeant. Pour expliquer cette forte croissance, M. Pelletier évoque l'augmentation de la cadence de la nouvelle liaison Valence-Montréal exploitée par MSC. Le trafic depuis les Caraïbes, notamment en provenance du port de transbordement de Freeport (Bahamas) est aussi en augmentation. La croissance est telle que l'administration portuaire, Patrice Pelletier en tête, ne peut que maintenir le rythme dans le plan de développement du port, qui s'échelonne sur 12 ans et devrait permettre de tripler la capacité du port. Déjà, le réaménagement des terminaux va bon train en 2008. L'Administration portuaire explique aussi son plan d'action à ses partenaires commerciaux et aux gouvernements, en espérant que cela se transforme en 2009 en expression d'intérêt pour investir. Une vision qui séduit Si l'expansion de la capacité du port est un défi, il en existe un autre qui compte beaucoup aux yeux de Patrice Pelletier. «Il faut gérer le port avec une stratégie de développement durable, explique-t-il. C'est d'une complexité certaine, mais pour moi ça veut dire de pouvoir développer le plan de croissance du port en atteignant un équilibre entre les impacts économiques, sociaux et environnementaux.» «J'essaie d'influencer le mode de gestion même de l'organisation, poursuit M. Pelletier. Ça va au-delà de l'écologie.» Ainsi, M. Pelletier associe à son concept de développement durable les solutions à la pénurie main-d'oeuvre à venir, ou encore l'engagement des communautés et des différents partenaires. Sans oublier la croissance du port et la protection de l'environnement. Patrice Pelletier a présenté sa vision sur différentes tribunes, dont au World Ports Climate Conference de Rotterdam, le 10 mai dernier. L'idée a été bien reçue, soutient-il. «La direction de la stratégie de Rotterdam nous a dit qu'elle a entendu notre message et qu'elle aimerait collaborer avec nous.» Il est encore trop tôt pour savoir quelle exacte forme prendra cette collaboration, mais elle aurait un objectif relié à l'implantation d'un mode de gestion de développement durable. «J'ai pensé à un jumelage de personnel comme façon effective de le faire, dit M. Pelletier. J'ai demandé à ma division environnement de réfléchir à une mission pour établir les jalons de la collaboration.» Selon M. Pelletier, Rotterdam peut donner à Montréal les exemples de choses à faire et à ne pas faire. «À Rotterdam, on peut presque voir une projection de ce qui pourrait arriver chez nous, même si c'est un plus gros port. La collaboration nous permettrait de voir concrètement où ils sont rendus, les problématiques qu'ils ont, comment les éviter.» «Dans le sens positif, on peut aussi voir ce qui peut être fait sur le plan du développement durable, ajoute-t-il. Et c'est vrai aussi dans l'autre sens. Je crois que c'est ce qui les a intéressés.» «Vulgariser» le port À la fin de l'automne 2007, après une réflexion de la haute direction sur la mission et la stratégie, le Port de Montréal prenait la résolution de se rapprocher de la communauté citoyenne. «Les gens n'ont jamais vu le port, dit Patrice Pelletier. Les gens ne savent pas ce qu'il y a derrière cette fameuse clôture qui sépare la ville du port.» C'est là qu'est née l'idée de Port en ville, une journée portes ouvertes qui aura lieu dimanche le 31 août ( Pour M. Pelletier, la journée est une première étape d'une stratégie pour «vulgariser» le port. «Les gens ne savent pas que quand ils vont chez Ikea, chez Wal-Mart, quand ils prennent une bouteille de vin italien, ce qu'ils achètent passe par le port. Il faut aussi expliquer les bénéfices économiques et environnementaux. Mais la première étape, c'est que les gens voient ce qu'est le port.
  5. Ça donne le goût de voir un projet similaire ici à Montréal. Markthal Rotterdam, the covered food market and housing development shaped like a giant arch by Dutch architects MVRDV, has officially opened today after five years of construction (+ slideshow). The Netherlands' first covered market is located in Rotterdam's city centre and has space for 96 fresh produce stalls and 20 hospitality and retail units on the lower two floors...
  6. Je voulais vous montrer cet exemple de tram hybride, qui peut rouler autant sur les rails conventionnels que sur de rail type tramway dans la rue. Le genre d'hybride qui serait intéressant pour la connexion Brossard-Centre-ville, voire pour la navette avec Dorval. RandstadRail is the lightrail system that connects The Hague with Rotterdam and Zoetermeer. It's a hybrid system - partly an extension of the HTM The Hague street car lines and the Rotterdam subway (Erasmus Line). The hybrid character also explains the two different types of vehicles used on this system. Alstom built Regio Citadis cars that run on "normal" street car routes through the city of The Hague and Rotterdam Bombardier built subway cars that connect to the Rotterdam subway system. Outside Rotterdam and The Hague all vehicles use former standard railroad lines: the Hofpleinlijn (oldest electric railroad in The Netherlands - 1909) and the Zoetermeer Line (1975). Both routes have been rebuilt to lightrail standards. The system is quite succesful, at least for Dutch standards. About 80.000 passengers use it on a daily basis.