National Urban Design Awards - 2024 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

National Urban Design Awards - 2024 Recipient

The Ring
Award Category: 
Urban Fragments

CCxA Architectes paysagistes Inc. 

The recent revitalization of Place Ville Marie included the construction of a stairway between the historical McGill College Avenue and the elevated Esplanade—an element integral to architect Henry Cobb and I.M. Pei’s original 1962 design intention. CCxA was mandated to suspend a signature sculpture above this new threshold to signify a new urban gateway. 

The Ring is a formal counterpoint to Place Ville Marie’s orthogonal purity. Scaled on the proportional constraints of the existing buildings, the circular form frames a view that encompasses 200 years of history, leading through the financial district and the McGill University campus, up to the Royal Victoria Hospital and the illuminated cross on Mont Royal.  

Although an unconventional work of landscape architecture, The Ring was realized through the unique strengths that are the hallmarks of the CCxA practice: blurring boundaries between design and art, placemaking through spatial arrangement, connecting an urban framework to prioritize the pedestrian experience, and orchestrating coordination across a diverse team of consultants and stakeholders. The landscape architects orchestrated and led an expert team made up of ten distinct disciplines who worked through continually emerging challenges. This spanned from metallurgy, vortex-induced oscillation, weld strengths, glass-bead sandblast finishes, and illumination on various metal finishes, to the complex choreography to precisely position and secure the 23-tonne, 30-metre-diameter object. The process also involved many cycles of risk assessment and myriad approvals, including from architect Henry Cobb’s office.  

Embodying a deep love for Montreal, The Ring engages the public imagination and has already become an iconic part of Montreal’s cityscape.  

Client Ivanhoé Cambridge | Landscape Architect Team  CCxA (formerly Claude Cormier et Associés): Claude Cormier, Sophie Beaudoin, Damien Dupuis, Yannick Roberge | Fabrication and Installation Advisor Claude Bernard – Formaviva Inc. | Lighting Designer Gilles Arpin – Ombrages / EP Éclairage Public | Structural Franz Knoll – NCK | Industrial Design Advisor Michel Dallaire | Masonry and Sealing COHÉSIO Architecture | Mechanical/Electrical Stantec | Technology Integration The Attain Group | Machining/Fabrication/Assembly Marmen Inc. | Tube Bending Bendtec | Building Work JCB Construction Canada | Wind RWDI | Electricity  Patrice Blain Entrepreneur Electricien | Blasting Sablage au Jet 2000 |Completion September 2022

Jury Comment(s): 

The Ring is a simple, yet powerful, landmark in downtown Montreal. The project, situated in Place Ville Marie, is based on the historical development and urban structure of Montreal. The idea is clear, the expression is simple, and the execution is strong, demonstrating creative leadership and a significance in reconnecting the city to its past. This contemporary solution is applied with absolute clarity, serving as a key urban fragment that effectively unites time and space, while effectively framing various views of the city. 

The Ring is an iconic work of urban art that strikes a balance between audacity, elegance, efficiency, and control while magnifying the experience of the city. 

National Urban Design Awards Jury 2024

Click for full version: 
The 30m diameter ring

PHOTO - Jean-François Savaria

The circular geometry is a direct counterpoint to the modern architectural ensemble

PHOTO - David Boyer Photographe Inc.

Framing 200 years of history

PHOTO - David Boyer Photographe Inc.

The Ring floats beyond reach

PHOTO - Jean-François Savaria

A site-specific installation

PHOTO - Jean-François Savaria

Monument at the epicenter of the city's legacy

PHOTO - Jean-François Savaria