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To mark its second year of existence, 1700 La Poste is presenting Luc Laporte, architecte. Réalisations et inédits, an exhibition in homage to an architect who left an indelible mark on urban life in Montreal as we know it today.
The exhibition opens onto a selection of Luc Laporte’s designs for performance spaces, with theatricality taking centre stage. Proposals and built projects are shown side by side in delicate harmony. Concert halls, city squares, and the chapel of the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac recall the extent to which the architect dreamed of large structure, while remaining an urbanist at heart. His unbuilt proposals, such as that for a performance hall, L’Étoile, reveal Laporte’s fascination with a certain late-nineteenth-century Parisian milieu, classicist in design and decidedly convivial in spirit.
In collaboration with UBU compagnie de création, 1700 La Poste has created a site-specific puppet theatre exclusively for this exhibition. L’homme qui marche (The Man Who Walks), a small urban phantasmagoria, is an in situ experience that immerses the spectator in Laporte’s world, drawing on texts and music from his personal library. It brings to life a dream cherished by the architect, who was literally fascinated by marionettes, and who never stopped imagining plans for large theatres integrated into the city.
This will also be an opportunity to discover—or rediscover—the ambitious proposal Cité pour 33 296 habitants (City for 33,296 inhabitants), an original concept developed by Laporte and commissioned by the Musée régional de Rimouski. This utopian city, free of roads and parking spaces, was designed on a human scale, with squares and other gathering places scattered throughout. Laporte’s plan saw the entire population of Rimouski moving onto Saint-Barnabé Island, keeping the waterfront free for agriculture and parkland.
1700 La Poste, which was the last project completed by Laporte, has also given pride of place to the everyday environments he designed. From the late 1970s on, Laporte consolidated his professional practice around a series of residential and commercial projects. A number of these, notably the restaurant L’Express (1980) and the Lux (1983), earned him considerable acclaim.
Luc Laporte, architecte. Réalisations et inédits is an opportunity for his friends and close collaborators, among them artists and writers, to pay tribute to Laporte. It also offers visitors insight into the personality of this discreet and genuine man, who was truly passionate about his work.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Les Éditions de Mévius has published a catalog documenting the architect’s projects, and featuring contributions by those who knew him.
The architect Luc Laporte (1942-2012) was born in Montréal and worked there all his life. His legacy to the city includes projects that have left a defining mark on the urban character of Montreal. Laporte made a name for himself by building the interiors of some of the city’s best-loved restaurants, notably L’Express, Leméac, Valois, Holder, Laloux, Café du Nouveau Monde (TNM), Via Roma, Restaurant de l’Institut (ITHQ), Trattoria dei Baffone (since demolished) and the now-defunct Sam. He also designed a number of performance venues, including the Musée Juste pour Rire and its Cabaret, as well as the latest iteration of Club Soda. He guided the renovation and expansion of the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT). He also designed office spaces, among them a commission for Dentsubos inc., and commercial spaces such as the boutique Arthur Quentin. We have him to thank as well for a number of Montreal landmarks, including the pavilion at the Bassin Bonsecours and the late, great Lux, an iconic 1980s café-bar-restaurant-dépanneur. His final project was the restoration of today’s 1700 La Poste. His distinctively humanist and ecological architecture is a subtle mix of European elegance and American avant-garde style.
1700 La Poste
Postal Station F was built in 1913 by architect David Jerome Spence. A century later, the building, located at 1700 Notre-Dame Street West, was fully restored under the direction of Isabelle de Mévius and the late Luc Laporte. An expression of his singular vision, this major undertaking was the architect’s last project. 1700 La Poste is a private gallery dedicated to the visual arts and their discourses, presenting events in the form of exhibitions and lectures.
Luc Laporte, architecte. Réalisations et inédits
From October 17, 2014, to January 17, 2015.
Regular hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm
During the holidays, we will be closed on December 24, 25, 26, and 31, 2014, and January 1 and 2, 2015.
Exceptionally, we will be open on December 28, 2014 and January 4, 2015.
1700 La Poste
1700, Notre-Dame Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3J 1M3
Very High-resolution image
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Very High-resolution image
19.15 x 12.76