Imagining the future of museums and public spaces in participatory cities
As exhibition designers, GSM Project collaborates with architects, municipalities and community organizations to envision new museums and public spaces for the cities of tomorrow. We believe that architecture and design professions complement each other so that the design and purpose of a place — its form and function, and the stories it tells — answers to citizens aspirations.
Following World Architecture Day on Monday October 5, we are paying tribute this week to the discipline of architecture, which creates the spaces that enrich our lives, by reviewing two projects we are currently developing with Canadian architecture firms — projects with innovative design thinking that responds to current social and environmental challenges in relevant, relatable and engaging ways.
Located on Stampede Park near the banks of the Elbow River and just blocks from downtown Calgary, the SAM Centre will be a place where local and international visitors can connect and experience Stampede history, culture and spirit through participatory storymaking that is ever-evolving and, true to the Stampede legacy, a whole bunch of fun too! SAM will be as much about the future as it is about Stampede’s storied past. The community is more than welcome, they are what makes SAM, SAM — their story is SAM’s story. Visitors will be invited share their own Stampede stories and together, build a collective experience through history, art and creativity. In all of these ways, SAM will foster community spirit with an aim to be always relevant and relatable —no matter who you are or where you come from.
Working hand-in-hand with Diamond Schmitt (DSA), GSM Project brings to the table our understanding of the institution’s identity and core values, expertise in interpretive planning, and preliminary visitor-experience concepts, which elevate and inform the collaborative workshops that have already started to shape the new building’s identity, part of the Stampede’s Youth Campus Master Plan Development. Construction of the SAM Centre is anticipated in 2021, with its doors opening in 2023.
“With the SAM Centre, it will be more than the storied history of the Calgary Stampede as a western celebration and gathering place for our community on display. You will be able to feel it, become immersed in it and understand how deeply intertwined the Stampede is in the fabric of Calgary,” says Christine Leppard, Historical Specialist, at the Calgary Stampede.
Maisonneuve Public Library: Sharing knowledge as a social gathering place for all
The City of Montreal awarded EVOQ Architecture, in partnership with Dan Hanganu Architectes, the contract to renovate and expand the Maisonneuve Public Library in 2017. The jury commended the design team on its treatment of the heritage building and the way their design highlighted its character. The project also rehabilitated the current library by restoring the character-defining elements of its historic interiors, reinstating the building envelope and expanding the existing building by an additional 2,069 m².
As part of this building development, GSM Project collaborated with the Department of Culture of the City of Montreal and the Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (MHM) Neighbourhood to refine the service offer for the creative spaces in the new Maisonneuve Public Library. GSM Project carried out community consultation and co-design approaches with the residents of the MHM Neighbourhood to better understand their needs and expectation for the creative spaces in the new library, including a public-gathering space, Fab Lab, recording studio and video-game room.
This architectural and design approach allows the new library to establish its social and community role in the neighbourhood, as well as convey its openness to sharing knowledge and culture, by becoming a social gathering place for all. The library will reinvent itself as a place for knowledge, as well as play. Construction work on the New Maisonneuve Library started in 2020 and the doors are scheduled to open in 2022.
Architectural challenges are also our challenges
As scenographers, designers and museologists, we are also challenged by what contemporary architecture wishes to solve in cities, such as education and the transmission of knowledge to future generations, wellbeing and healthy living, accessibility and inclusiveness, as well as civic engagement, democracy, local growth and sustainable development through the arts and culture. We believe architectural and design disciplines have a responsibility to join forces to meet the social and environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.