MAQ Young Architectural Critic
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The Maison de l’architecture du Québec presents PIERRE THIBAULT by Georges Teyssot and Alessandra Ponte: Architecture as landscape. This monographic initiative is the third of a series in which the Maison de l’architecture du Québec will offer in-depth analysis of influential Quebec architects’ work of the last two decades and situate these architects in the international context.
Made up of notebooks, sketches, models, photographs and film extracts, this landmark monographic exhibition brought together the different perspectives of theorists, of a photographer and a film-director. The show traces the architecture of Atelier Pierre Thibault over the last 25 years, an architecture of simple shapes in a symbiotic relationship with nature.
Discover the result of 25 years of collaboration between photographer and architect via more than 100 pictures of Alain Laforest, live in Pierre Thibault’s houses by immersing yourself in a montage of selected rushes from Denys Arcand’s latest movie, An Eye for Beauty (in theatres May 15th). Spurred on by our renowned curators, Georges Teyssot, professor at Université Laval’s School of Architecture, and Alessandra Ponte, professor at Uni-versité de Montréal’s School of Architecture, explore “the interactions, boundaries, and interfaces linking architecture and landscape”* in the 192 page bilingual publication produced by the MAQ.
Designed by Paquebot Design (Gaston Côté and Isabelle Drouin), the publication reflects the richness of the work of Atelier Pierre Thibault, analyzed in-depth and introduced by Alessandra Ponte as follows: “The tireless questioning and exploring of the relations linking landscape and architecture in Pierre Thibault’s work consistently challenge the limits between the domains of architecture, landscape architecture, land art, performance art, and installation art. Thibault is clearly not just testing the borders between the disciplines and the arts but also freely and creatively borrowing from each field.”
With over 60 private residences as the Villa du lac du Castor, public buildings such as the Abbaye cistercienne Val Notre-Dame or multiple dwellings like Cohabitat in Québec, the firm stands out for its many installations in natural environments, publications, exhibitions and even stage sets for the dance community. As Georges Teyssot says, “the works of architect Pierre Thibault epitomize an opening to the visual and plastic arts. They offer a testimonial on the importance of the drawing and the model. Rooted in their site, they also present an original relationship with the theme of landscape. Finally, they offer unprecedented perspectives on the cinematographic arts, so much so that filmmaker Denys Arcand shot his most recent feature (2014) in buildings designed by Thibault.”
Alumilex: The Atelier Pierre Thibault would like to join the Maison de l’architecture du Québec in thanking ALUMILEX, main sponsor of this exhibition.
Special thanks from the MAQ to Denys Arcand, Nancy Dunton, Alain Laforest, Alessandra Ponte, Georges Teyssot, Pierre Thibault and his team, Stéphane Huot, whose generous collaborations have made this project possible. The MAQ thanks its faithful partners:
A 1982 graduate of the School of Architecture at Univer-sité Laval, Pierre Thibault founded his firm in 1988. His first major project, the Centre d’exposition de Baie-Saint-Paul (1992), received an Award of Excellence from the Ordre des Architectes du Québec (OAQ). In 1996, he received the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts, which awarded him the Prix de Rome in Architecture the following year. Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur (also in 1997), received much attention: honourable mention at the 43rd Annual Progressive Architecture Awards in the United States, honourable mention at the OAQ Awards of Excellence, and the Governor General’s Medal. In 1999, at Printemps du Québec à Paris, his installation De l’igloo au gratte-ciel transposed a kilometre of Quebec landscape into the Jardin des Tuileries.
Thibault then received a number of mandates for cultural facilities, including the Jean-Pierre Perrault choreographic space (today Circuit-Est), the Musée des Abénakis, and the National Capital’s museum storeroom. The mandate for Æterna Laboratories (1999) marked a breakthrough into the private sector (Burton-Dompark showroom, offices of the Cossette et Infopresse agencies, and, most recently, Caisses Desjardins). His major accomplishment is the Val Notre-Dame Cistercian Abbey, a mandate won by competition in 2004. Finally, Atelier Pierre Thibault, a firm with five to eight employees, has designed almost sixty private residences over fifteen years; the architect has gained a following in and stamped his signature on this genre, starting with the Villa du lac du Castor (2000), and he has also gradually become involved in the search for new solutions to multiple dwellings, such as the atypical Cohabitat in Quebec City (2014).
At the same time, Thibault has been intensely involved in creating installations in natural and museum environments, by invitation and through competitions, in the context of teaching workshops, or for personal research. The notable Jardins d’hiver projects, designed for the Parc de conservation des Grands-Jardins in the Charlevoix region in 2001, opened fresh trails; they were recognized at the 48th Annual Progressive Architect Awards and the Canadian Architect Awards.
The contemporary ice palace La Ligne du Temps, for the Carnaval de Québec, earned an honourable mention at the AR+D Awards in London. Thibault has regularly collaborated with the Reford Gardens in Métis, from Jardin territoire in 2001 to Jardins M (in Old Montreal) in 2013. He has also designed sets for choreographer Danièle Desnoyer, including Hozhro, produced with composer Michel Gonneville.
Thibault has had a number of solo exhibitions, including Temps et Matérialité, which toured in France and was presented at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), and Refuge, at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. He has participated in the Milan Design Triennale and a number of group exhibitions, including Laboratoires (CCA, Montreal, 2002), Substance over Spectacle (Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver), Sixteen Canadian Practices (Canada House, London), and Les Archis-Fictions de Montréal: Six villes invisibles... (Maison de l’architecture du Québec, 2006–08).
Thibault has been a professor at Université Laval since 2008. He has been a guest professor in Geneva (2001), Nancy (2002), Montreal (UQAM), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 2003, 2004). He has given lectures in numerous cities around the world (among them Paris, Stockholm, Taiwan, and Fairbanks, Alaska), at the Architectural League of New York, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, and in most North American architecture schools. He is involved in the dissemination of architecture to the general public (co-host of the Radio-Canada series Au-delà des murs, columnist in the daily Le Soleil.) Since 2011, he has been a member of the Conseil du patrimoine culturel du Québec.
Thibault’s projects have been widely published in specialized magazines in Europe and North America (Casa da Abitare, Dwell, Beaux-Arts, Architectural Record, and others) and covered by the major Quebec media. They have been the subject of a number of television reports and a documentary, L’espace que j’ai vu, by Anne-Marie Tougas, selected for the Festival International du Film sur l’Art.
To present his approach, Thibault has published Temps et Matérialité (Les Heures bleues, 1997) and Maisons Nature (Éd. La Presse, 2013); Maisons Paysage will be published in the fall of 2014.
GEORGES TEYSSOT, invited curator
Georges Teyssot is Professor at Laval University’s School of Architecture in Quebec City (Qc, CA). He has previously taught history and theory at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (Italy), at Princeton University’s School of Architecture (NJ, USA), and at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (GTA) in the Department of Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). He has written the introduction to the volume of Diller + Scofidio, Flesh: Architectural Probes (New York: 1995, 2011). He was the curator with Diller + Scofidio of the exhibition on The American Lawn at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 1998. He is the author of many books, including Die Krankheit des Domizils (Wiesbaden: 1989), The History of Garden Design (Paris: 1991, 2002; London/ New York: 1991, 2000, 2002, etc.), and The American Lawn (New York: 1999). More recently, he has published a volume entitled A Topology of Everyday Constellations, in the “Writing Architecture Series” (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013); and a book on: Walter Benjamin. Les maisons oniriques (Paris: Hermann, 2013).
ALESSANDRA PONTE, invited curator
Alessandra Ponte is full professor at the École d’architecture, Université de Montréal. She has taught history and theory of architecture and landscape at Pratt Institute (New York), Princeton University, Cornell University, Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), and at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). She has published a vo-lume on Richard Payne Knight and the Eighteenth century Picturesque (Paris, 2000) and co-edited, with Antoine Picon, a collection of papers on architecture and the sciences (New York, 2003). For the last six years she has been responsible for the conception and organization of the Phyllis Lambert Seminar, annual colloquia on contemporary architectural topics. She organized the exhibition Total Environment: Montreal 1965–1975 (Canadian Centre for Architecture,
Montreal, 2009) and recently collaborated to the exhibition and co-edited the catalogue of God & Co: François Dallegret Beyond the Bubble (London: Architectural Association, November 2011; Zurich: ETHZ, April 2012; Paris: ENSBA-Malaquais, September 2012). She has recently completed a series of investigations on North-American landscapes for her forthcoming book The House of Light and Entropy (London: Architectural Association, Spring 2014).
ALAIN LAFOREST, photographer
Alain Laforest has been a photographer of architecture since 1976, having worked for Phyllis Lambert and the Canadian Centre for Architecture for 32 years, as Head of Photographic Services and Multimedia Designer. Over the same period of time, he has been a collaborator with organizations such as Heritage Montreal, Docomomo, etc., and has established ongoing working relationships with some of the best-known architects from Quebec. For more than 25 years, his images of their work have been published in most important North American and European architectural publications such as Architectural Record, Architecture Digest, Architecture à vivre, Azure, Canadian Architect, Domus, Dwell and such. A photographer much sought after for his understanding of the built environment, he has also documented the construction of such important projects as the Centre CDP Capital and the Quartier International de Montréal (2000-2004). In 2010-2013, he carried out the complete visual inventory of residential and institutional buildings that are in the Historic and Natural Site of Mount Royal for the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec. Since 2010, he has been a lecturer in photography in the School of Architecture at the Université de Montréal. Alain Laforest is co-founder of the Maison de l’architecture du Québec.