Contributing to the overall development of children through the introduction of music education in a stimulating environment from pre-school age, that is the goal of the pilot music programme for children initiated by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. During the realization of this multidisciplinary project, the passion and magic of collaboration played for a lot.
It’s proven: kids who learn the basics of music have better overall development. This is why Maestro Kent Nagano and the OSM have set up a teaching programme for music education in disadvantaged areas, in collaboration with the Pointe-de-l’Île school board and the Université de Montréal.
LEMAYMICHAUD took part in the pro bono adventure, inspired by the social mission. “All those who chose to participate in the project did so voluntarily, either to create for children, because education challenged them, or because they liked music. It gave a very enthusiastic and invested team! Says Judi Farkas, architect and partner of the firm.
“All those who chose to participate in the project did so voluntarily, either to create for children, because education challenged them, or because they liked music. “
It is in the basement of École Saint-Rémi in Montréal-Nord that the premises, intended to accommodate budding musicians, were to be developed. The main challenges: create a fun environment, practical and not too expensive. Among the solutions selected, each room was equipped with acoustic panels of different colors. “It makes it easy for kids to find their way around. They say, “Today, we’re going to the red room!” The angled walls serve not only to create an interesting pathway, but also to provide better acoustics to each room.
The result is larger than originally planned. “During the first visit, the team discovered a residual space adjacent to the space chosen for the project. With some convincing sketches, we managed to double the area to offer more rooms and accommodate more students in the programme.”
The children can enjoy eight rehearsal rooms, an activity area and a multifunctional concert hall, which also serves the community. “The stage is one of the key elements,” says Farkas. Through its materials and assemblies, it is reminiscent of the Maison symphonique. Maestro Nagano felt it was important for children to feel on familiar ground when they visit him in the “big” concert hall.”
In this adventure, the support of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal stakeholders was invaluable. CEO Madeleine Careau helped raise funds, while Maxime Lataille, then Special Projects Manager – Education, ensured that the spirit of the project was always respected. “Without ever putting pressure on us, he properly explained the OSM’s vision. Everything had to be thought-of for the children: they had to find the installations interesting and inspiring, as they would spend several hours a day there.”
The various stakeholders also collaborated with the heart on the hand, especially subcontractors, who donated time and materials. “As for us, we painted the light fixtures ourselves in our garage! Everyone contributed!” exclaims Judi Farkas.
In short, passion and love resonated strongly. “It was tinged with magic and very creative! All the stakeholders complemented each other. It is one of our most beautiful collaborations, without a shadow of a doubt,” concludes the architect.
The project won LEMAYMICHAUD a design award at the Canadian Interiors magazine 20th Best of Canada Competition, as well as a special mention at the 2018 edition of the international design competition Iconic Awards – Innovative Architecture.