Theme: Invisible City | Site: the Grande Bibliothèque  

the Grande Bibliothèque

A SITE : The Grande Bibliothèque, a new public site of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in Montreal

True to its in situ diffusion approach under the theme CITÉINVISIBLE/INVISIBLE CITY Champ Libre presents its 7th edition of the Manifestation Internationale Vidéo et Art Électronique, Montreal, biennial event, to take place in an urban site currently under transformation. During this unique event, the Grande Bibliothèque, located in Ville-Marie borough in Montreal, will be host to an interdisciplinary program and multi-network presentation that draws from video, electronic arts, architecture and urbanism.

This event is presented by Champ Libre in collaboration with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
Facade of the Grande Bibliothèque
Source : BAnQ / Patkau / Croft-Pelletier /
Menkès Shooner Dagenais, architectes associés
During the process of putting together the 7e MIVAEM the Grande Bibliothèque's proximity to the border of the latin neighborhood and of the city center, by means of its location in Ville-Marie borough of Montreal, lead Champ Libre, in accordance with their in-situ approach, to an urban research project on the current occupation of this territorial zone as well as its history and socio-economic realities;
the topology of this site will serve to trigger discussions on contemporary architecture and will guide and orient the artistic and signposting interventions that will make up the Cité Invisible/Invisible City project.
Click on the image to see the map
South-East view of the Grande Bibliothèque
Source : BAnQ / Patkau / Croft-Pelletier /
Menkès Shooner Dagenais, architectes associés

An Urban Landmark in the Montreal public space

BAnQ’s Grande Bibliothèque remains to this day one of the most ambitious cultural projects of Quebec. In the current landscape of Montreal it becomes a true indicator of urbanity. This initiative of the Quebec state wishes to favor a democratic and widespread access to information and knowledge by means of an optimal use of new technologies. A panoply of spaces and technological tools will incite the public to rediscover text and writing through pictures, all the while integrating multimedia and data processing components. The project orients itself towards a spectacular redefinition of a both playful and educational activity. Its strategic location aims to exploit a diversified community, all while promoting the cultural profile of the city center district (Latin neighborhood and centre–sud).

The project Cité invisible/Invisible city questions the transformative process of a place, an urban site, situating itself at the intersection of contemporary interrogations of these new places of knowledge. By a strategy of infiltration and by the use of a minimal intervention that respects the site all the while giving value to it, Champ Libre will be able to appropriate the Grande Bibliothèque itself. The event will deploy itself as much in the internal zones of the Grande Bibliothèque (natural and panoramic walks, wooden rooms, Espace Jeunes, multimedia room, amphitheater, exhibition spaces) as in the external zones of the site such as the garden, the Savoie Avenue and finally the underground city directly accessible through the Berri-UQAM subway station. The project has as main goal to propose to the public a true contemporary reading and a walk through of the site, in hopes that a new and fleeting experience of the Grande Bibliothèque will be revealed through the prism of contemporary electronic and architecture artworks.

Click on the image to see the slide show

Click on the image to see the slide show

See also images of the architectural project on the Website:


The Champ Libre Team inside the Grande Bibliothèque,, december 2004.
Source : Hervé Trioreau
Stagecraft and broadcasting device
Atelier In situ, Stéphane Pratte and Annie Lebel – Montreal.

Champ Libre will propose, at the time of its biennial Invisible City-7e MIVAEM, an architectural intervention and stagecraft that will valorize the different spaces of BanQ’s Grande Bibliothèque.

The stagecraft will be realized in collaboration with the Montreal architecture workshop In situ ( ; Annie Lebel and Stéphane Pratte, winner of the Rome Grand Prix in architecture of the Canada Council for the Arts (2001). The sensibility and unique expertise of these Montreal architects will allow for the maximization of the functionality of the different spaces created within the site of the Grande Bibliothèque as they proposes an aesthetic vision which suits the scale of the building. The main object of this project is to create a walk along within which the identification of the artworks and of the event itself will be clear in a manner that assures the integration of the site as a whole. The context of presentation of the works and each person’s conception of the original devices of presentation will rely on the narrowing relation between the artwork, the envelope of its presentation and the perception of the spectator within the spaces of the Grande Bibliothèque.

The particular scenographic characteristic of Atelier In situ for this project will aim to propose, from the interior of the Grande Bibliothèque towards exterior, visually original urban sites which will become, for the length of the event, new multimedia platforms for the artistic works presented by Champ Libre. This stagecraft has equally as goal to underline and to have the public of the event and of the Grande Bibliothèque discover a whole new panoply of viewpoints within Montreal as theyoffer themselves from the internal spaces of the Grande Bibliothèque.
Source : Cécile Martin