National Urban Design Awards — 2012 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

National Urban Design Awards — 2012 Recipient

Loose Change
Award Category: 
Student Projects

(Rico) Chun Fung Law, Anne-Marie Desmeules, Aisha Sheikh
McGill University

Inactive since 1981, for more than 30 years Francon Quarry has served as a snow dump for the City of Montreal, collecting more than 60% of the city’s snowfall every year. The derelict site has done significant damage to the environment and economy with its high salt content contaminated snow water. This Post-Industrial wasteland is also gradually tearing the surrounding neighbourhood apart as a physical scar on the city fabric and as the cause of high unemployment rates.

We propose a new method of waste water management, turning everything that is negative into positive for future generations. This project advances knowledge in urban agriculture, environmental engineering and industrial ecology. Knowledge transfer is an integral part of the aquatics research institute and science center. Adaptive reuse of quarries through the production of algae and reuse of saltwater waste from the snow in a natural solar pond system is an innovative way of accessing alternative energy and natural goods.

Though Montreal’s great snow is often wondrous to behold, sometimes we treat it as an enemy to be tossed aside, when in fact we should embrace it as a friend and opportunity to improve the neighbourhood and city in which we live. 

Jury Comment(s): 

“The Francon Quarry Rehabilitation concept is an intriguing and fairly radical response to a difficult challenge that many cities face with the decommissioning of extraction sites such as pits and quarries. Although the overall viability and feasibility of a plan with such an ambitious scope have yet to be demonstrated, this project represents a creative and multi-faceted solution aimed at transforming the site’s unique potential for the benefit of the community, based on a comprehensive exploration of the various social, economic, environmental and developmental dimensions of the problem.”

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image: Rico Law, Anne-Marie Desmeules