James Square is a cultural site where landscaping, nature, art and engineering work together to provide McGill campus users a chance to fully profit from their on-campus experience.
McGill’s James Square redesign was catalyzed by the need for major reconstruction of its underground service tunnels. This technical project created an opportunity to review the design of James Square in conformity with McGill’s contemporary needs and sustainability policies.
The site primarily defined by vehicular paths was chaotic and dangerous. Our goal was to create a coherent space where social and academic life could comfortably and safely extend into the outdoors.
The design and technical challenges were enormous, from the Mount Royal slopes runoff and freezing ice in winter, to the surrounding heritage buildings at different levels, and the reconstructed mechanical tunnels close to the surface. Campus accessibility was necessary throughout the construction period.
WAA transformed the whole space into a pedestrian and bicycle focused zone, adapted to diverse user groups including handicapped.
The challenge relative to the intricate topography became an opportunity to create an ideal meeting place full of seating options and a variety of interesting views, while solving surface run-off and heating effects. Sculptures from McGill’s Art collection were also integrated into the square’s landscape as cultural and visual accents.
Montreal, Québec, Canada
YEAR OF COMPLETION
2012 / Honorable Mention in the Urban Design Category from the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), National Award in Excellence in Planning
2012 / Regional Citation from the Canadian Association or Landscape Architects (CSLA). Award in Excellence in Landscape Architecture
EGP Group / BRP / lighting, CS Design Conor Sampson / Forestry Engineer, Luc Nadeau