Photo Credits: Raphaël Thibodeau
The architects first got involved with the programme « La musique aux enfants » through the platforms of initiatives such as Faire MontréalandAdopter une école. The programme, created by Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, aims at implementing intensive music learning for prekindergarten and kindergarten children of diverse neighbourhoods of Montreal.
This particular project, developed by a team of professionals acting pro bono, involved the design and development of learning and rehearsal spaces, to be located in the basement of the Saint-Rémi Annexe School, in the Montreal-North borough. Upon visiting the initially allocated space, the design team quickly concluded that the addition of an existing adjoining space would prove beneficial to the project, doubling the installations’ overall area and helping to better translate the founder’s vision into space.
The project was developed to bring optimal conditions for music teaching to children. With the collaboration of Tateo Nakajima, acoustic designer for the Maison symphonique of Montreal, the rooms are now equipped with an acoustical environment worthy of professional musicians. The final installations, bright and airy, are divided into three major areas: one for individual learning, one for group lessons and gathering, and a performing area.
The individual learning area consists of 8 closed cubicles, placed in a row in a seemingly random way. The broken lines in their placement are actually intentional and favour the acoustics by minimizing sound bounce.
The group and gathering area houses tables, chairs, colourful soft seating and instruments, all child-sized. It is open on a stage and framed by a wall adorned with a supersized custom-made mural by artists Zema and Astro that gives a playful dimension to the space.
An imposing looking stage composes the performing area. Its wall treatment made of blond cherry wood slats brings to mind the one used in the Maison Symphonique, A more formal space, this area is meant to be an introduction to professional performing halls for the children.
The access to the individual practice area can be limited and locked, enabling the opening of the gathering and stage areas to public use, an added value to the Community.