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Competition: Worksite information modules, Montreal

Montreal Design Bureau has launched an international design competition for a series of CAN$50,000 information displays on construction sites across the city (Deadline: 1 December)

The contest is backed by the city government, Ville de Montréal, and seeks proposals for new interactive modular structures intended to reduce the negative impact of construction on local residents and businesses in three key sites.

The winning team, to be selected by a jury and public vote, will receive professional fees worth CAN$47,000 and see its design implemented.



Source: Image by taxiarchos228


The brief says: ‘Committed to improving citizens’ living environment and maintaining the attractiveness and economic health of arteries and districts affected by such work, the Ville de Montréal is seeking to implement 3D platforms called worksite information modules.

‘The modules will not only inform residents and visitors about the site and its impacts but may also serve as tools for interpretation of the history of the site, the eventual design, the key stages of construction, the various stakeholders, or any other relevant aspects.’

Montreal is the most populous city in Canada’s French-speaking Quebec province. The Montreal Design Bureau was launched 25 years ago to boost design quality across the city and promote local design and architectural talent.

Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006 and is home to a growing creative industry along with leading institutions such as the International Council of Design.

The worksite information modules initiative is part of Ville de Montréal’s ongoing programme of infrastructure upgrades, including new public transit networks, street improvements and parks.

The innovative scheme was first proposed two years ago during Montreal’s ‘Unsitely!’ international architecture conference, which sought to harness design to improve the appearance of construction sites.

Four finalists will be selected following an open anonymous first-stage round. Each team will receive CAN$10,000 to develop their proposals in greater detail ahead of a presentation to the jury in a public event.

The competition jury will feature two architects, three design professionals, a Ville de Montreal director and the commissioner of the Montreal Design Bureau.

Second-stage teams will need four key members: an industrial designer, a graphic designer, an engineer and a coordinator based in a Quebec design or architecture practice.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 1 December. (Stage 1)

Contact details

Bureau du design
Ville de Montréal
303, rue Notre-Dame Est, 6e étage
Montréal (Québec) H2Y 3Y8

Tel: +1 514 872 8076

View the competition website for more information

Trafford Site Hoarding case study: Q&A with Paul Norbury

The director at 5plus Architects discusses lessons learned designing temporary site hoardings for a construction site in Trafford, England

5 Plus Architects

5 Plus Architects

Paul Norbury

How did your Trafford Site Hoarding boost understanding of ongoing construction projects in the local area?

We designed the refurbishment and extension to the Grade II-listed Trafford Town Hall in 2011-13. It was an exciting project where we undertook the masterplan, new build and refurbished architecture, interior design, signage and way-finding, graphics, a printed book and the hoarding around the construction site.

The hoarding was seen as an opportunity rather than just a necessity. A construction site is usually inconvenient to the public – noisy, dirty and visually intrusive. But we wanted to design something that presented a series of positive messages to the public. The site is in a busy location between Old Trafford cricket and football grounds to the south of Manchester city centre, so would be seen by thousands of people each week. This meant it needed to be very robust to avoid damage from match-day crowds but we still wanted to use a modular system that could be reused elsewhere in future.



Trafford Site Hoarding by 5plus Architects

Which architectural, material and graphic methods did you harness?

The themes used in the design were the history of Trafford, the reasons the project was taking place and the new building design. We used our favourite historical photographs from our research for the project alongside CGIs of the new proposals, which illustrated the mix of old and new together in our building design. The council also wanted to use the opportunity to make some simple and clear statements about the development. Paragraphs of smaller text were used alongside short statements printed in large scale. This allowed interested passers-by to stop and read about the project, whereas someone driving past might just catch one or two of the big statements. Graphics proposed in the building design were then used to tie the proposals together along its length, using bold colours and a simple layout.



Trafford Site Hoarding by 5plus Architects

What issues might be important when designing a 3D worksite information module for projects in Montreal?

We would encourage wider research into the Montreal context for anyone undertaking the worksite module competition. There is an opportunity to pass on a message on the positive changes that will arise from the construction process, and what the benefits will be, as well as how the new place might look and feel. Consider also if people will stop and spend time looking at the module, or if there will be more people just glancing at it whilst passing by. The practical elements of security, scale, orientation, manufacture, printing, fabrication and assembly also need to be carefully considered.



Trafford Site Hoarding by 5plus Architects