Montreal Olympics 1976: Architectural Review

The Olympic Games have become a monumental chance for a state to show its individualism through architectural design. To most, we see hosting the Olympics as a positive possibility, a opportunity for a metropolis to develop its substructure, renovate edifices and make important architecture. These elements being the motive behind all the planning and forming that is involved with making a successful game, much of which influences the perceptual experience of the undertaking. Yet hosting the Olympic Games has a dramatic impact on the society of a metropolis and frequently goes far beyond a city’s outlook in both civic energy and cost. It is hard to state if any metropolis has been prepared to take on the huge sum of forming that is involved with this event. The troubles Montreal faced in the planning and put to deathing if the 1976 Olympics are those frequently faced by other metropoliss in this place. Yet with such an intense consequence why do metropoliss go on to offer for the Olympics? Could it be the bequest they create and the fable left behind in the architecture or the chance to plan something advanced and alone the universe has ne’er seen? Montreal faced this quandary in their creative activity of the 1976 games, a design that will be recalled throughout history as contact and hideous but besides as a premier illustration of how fanatic and intense the procedure of is hosting the Olympics.

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The Olympics games are said to be an award to any metropolis that hosts them. Months-sometimes-years go into be aftering the command for the International Olympics Committee, in hopes of carrying members to vote for a metropolis. But there are many fortunes that contribute to the formation of the Olympic Games, one being the nature in which a metropolis is selected. Although the IOC frequently says political relations are non involved there are underscoring grounds in the determination devising procedure. [ 1 ] In the choice for the 1976 Olympic metropolis, political relations were everything. During this clip a distinguishable line had been drawn between the U.S.S.R and the United States spliting states on and, making the cold war atmosphere. [ 2 ] In such a sensitive context, metropoliss like Los Angeles and Moscow were troublesome locations. Although both were in the running for the event, IOC members were seeking to avoid holding the Olympics and their participants take a side. If either nation’s metropolis was selected, the other vowed to boycott the games. Another event that loomed over the determination procedure was the traumatising events of the 1972 Munich Olympics. The surety crisis at that place resulted in the deceases of Israeli jocks was still a lingering hurt act uponing much of the world’s destiny in the IOC. [ 3 ] Much of the public inquiry if the event should go on and were concerned about about such a big graduated table and diverse event. This accounted for much of the force per unit area and scrutiny the host metropolis would confront after being awarded the command.

The pick of Montreal as the host metropolis seemed to be the most impersonal in footings of the cold war state of affairs. [ 4 ] Canada was impartial to either superpower state during this clip and would supply the most inactive environment for these tenseness filled times. There was besides the promise from Montreal to maintain the games modest and self-financed, a method that had ne’er been endeavored by any old host metropolis. [ 5 ] This was an influential enticement to IOC in hopes of avoiding a lavished event where attending is at an all-time high, making less promotion for an onslaught. Although in the terminal, Montreal will neglect at both tactics, it was a freshness that would perchance alter the lifting pessimism of the games and its cost. [ 6 ] Previous metropolis organisations had worked from a fiscal base ; either being authorities supported or publically, the organisers were at least spared another undertaking amidst all the other concerns. The Montreal Olympic Organization Committee ( COJO ) faced the quandary of making money to even get down the undertaking. Commemoration coins, casts and a lottery was created to back up the games, but due to political force per unit area the procedure did non get down till 2 old ages after the command was receive, bing the organisation cherished planning clip. With small money the metropolis was determined to use as many of their existing athleticss installations for Olympic activity. There were besides a figure of undertakings in the procedure of traveling to building that could be modified for Olympic usage, but overall it was decided that a big installation would hold to be built for the chief bowl and to host the gap ceremonial. [ 7 ]

Now that the determination had been made to construct the chief bowl for the Olympic composite, the COJO would now hold to turn up it in the old metropolis of Montreal. Due to Montreal’s rich history the metropolis was built about much of its historical significance making a engorged urban nucleus and limited substructure. The COJO looked toward much of the original urban design for counsel. One peculiar illustration stood out, a command for the 1956 Olympics, a design located on Maisonneuve Park. [ 8 ] Back in 1912, the urban program for Montreal had dedicated this land for public diversion usage and due to the measure it made it the most efficient location for the Olympics. Maisonneuve Park, an country nor’-east of business district Montreal, is chiefly residential with a huge sum of environing green and park infinite. But this location created many troubles for the undertaking, one of them being its distance from business district. The substructure for both public transit and auto entree would hold to be developed, every bit good as extra chances of touristry in order to prolong the hereafter of the Olympic composite. So in add-on to the chief bowl, the velodrome and other Olympic related activities would happen a lasting place on this site. [ 9 ]

Clake & A ; Rapuano Landscape Architects. Layout for the Olympic Facility in 1956. hypertext transfer protocol: //

Choosing the interior decorator was a critical portion of the planning for the Montreal Olympics. Jean Drapeau, city manager of Montreal at the clip, selected designer Robert Taillibert as lead interior decorator of the Olympic park. [ 10 ] A determination that was non agreed upon by all parties involved. To Drapeau, Taillibert was seen as an inspiration ; due to his work in Paris on Parc des Princes another bowl composite. Its noteworthy signifier blends good with the urban fabricate of this metropolis while being an influence in modern architecture by utilizing prefabricated concrete. This choice of Taillibert received much public unfavorable judgment every bit good. Many local Montreal designers and interior decorator felt they were non given the chance to take part in the design of their ain bowl. [ 11 ] A chance that would hold illuminated the Montreal cultural and extinguish extra cost for abroad transference. But Drapeau was insisted on Taillibert to make something alone and modern for the metropolis of Montreal. He embarked on a mission to supply the metropolis with something every bit symbolic as the Eiffel tower. [ 12 ] His construct was to retroflex the nature of the craniate by making this monumental look of organic architecture to depict the impulse of the Olympic Games. [ 13 ]

Organic architecture is said to be the blend of the natural landscape and the built environment. This harmonious unison of stuff and construction that both sculpts the human environment while accent the nature of the landscape. [ 14 ] This term “organic architecture” was frequently found in the plant of Frank Lloyd Wright, as a manner of gestating design with site. [ 15 ] But it is hard to state whether the Montreal bowl is genuinely meant to be organic architecture. [ 16 ] There are a figure of cardinal values in organic architecture that are non prevailing in the Montreal park design. For cases the pool and tower complex possibly integrated in one sweeping unit, but the velodrome seems to be an component on its ain. The coherence between the elements does non see the landscape except to model it to suit the functionality of the Olympics.

Olympic Official Report Montreal,“Facilities” ,Volume 2. Model of the Olympic Park. July 17, 1974.

Nature and sustainability are besides really of import rules employed in organic architecture, constructs that are non strongly emphasized by Taillibert in Montreal. Much of the Olympic park site is concrete and is non sympathetic to the environment around it. The concrete place besides stresses its unsustainable nature when vacant. Resourcefulness is frequently used to in depicting organic elements of architecture, whether in usage of stuffs or the landscape, it combines what already exists with what needs to be created. Pre-cast concrete was the cardinal stuff used in the building of Montreal, a procedure unfamiliar to many local contractors of Montreal doing it an inconvenient method. Taillibert focal point was non to be sustainable with his design or accent green development but alternatively make a unstable look through signifier. [ 17 ] His purposes through the design was non to be organic in the sense of Frank Lloyd Wright but possible see the edifice as an being with his construct of the craniate being noteworthy in the construction. [ 18 ] An thought that could be applied to the design is that the Olympic construction grew from the site and formed by responding to the elements and functionality implemented to it. The control held by Taillibert was of organic architecture in the nature of non being bound to any form or signifier. His opposition to leting the construction to be tamed by the site or temperament of the undertaking is a alone dominating factor found in this Olympic composite.

There is a psychological natural we as worlds seem to make with the built environment. We tend to understand elements better when we can warrant their actions and relate to signifiers that symbolize significance and intent in the environment. Buildings that illustrate objects or gestures enlighten the experience while making functionality within our imaginativeness. This type of analysing can be applied to some facets of the Montreal Olympic park. For cases the design of the chief bowl resembles an egg-shaped shell, an object that can be visualized by many visitants. The tower itself is hard to grok, there seems to be no intent of functionality, except to withstand the site’s landscape and disinter the organic nature of the architecture. To Tallibert the intent of the tower was to let the construct of the retractable roof be obtained, a functionality that proved to be more complex than originally planned, due to the structural complications. [ 19 ] There is no resemblance to associate it excessively in the action of taking the roof, which could be a ground for its failure. Architects frequently design constructions based off elements found in the natural environment. With such a desire to be of this organic nature of the site, it seems hard to understand why the architecture became so separated. The three distinguishable signifiers of the site all represent different maps but yet they were built to function a complete focal point, the Olympic Park. There is neither architectural component nor signifier that symbolizes their relationship to one another. They seem lost and disconnected in this concrete landscape. Besides the physical connexion between the tower and the chief bowl, the combine signifiers feel despairing to run into due to the towers actual intent of keeping the roof up. Taillibert, an expert in pre-stressed concrete, wanted to show the illimitable signifier of the stuff through the shape’s complexness.

Alain Desjean. Olympic park from above. hypertext transfer protocol: //

The tower of the Montreal Park creates “totalitarian” architecture. Design methods found in the Munich Olympics of 1972. Totalitarian is said to be the building of big edifices to give the kernels of power and control. [ 20 ] Even when sing the bowl there is the esthesis of being overwhelmed by its sheer size. Its enclosed walls created the sense of being confined, while the gap for the roof reveals really small of the outdoor atmosphere. From a distance the tower is a spectacle, tending at such an intense grade, but when near the site the constituents of the composite are relived making a mismatching array of architectural elements. There was besides this instability of construction and symmetricalness in the program of site every bit good as the lifts. A disproportion that arose an un-comfortablity in visitants looking for a form or understand to the design. An thought referred to as “oblique function” in which architecture encourages disequilibrium to make motion. A technique used by Gallic interior decorators, Claude Parent and Paul Virilio in the sixtiess. [ 21 ] Such a rule is seen in the justification of the tending tower compared to the remainder of the site.

Montreal Olympic Stadium. hypertext transfer protocol: //

The architecture of the Montreal Olympic installation is frequently viewed with negative intension due to the alaruming cost and direction failures. Much of incrimination is on the ebullient disbursement on Jean Drapeau portion every bit good as the rawness COJO had with a undertaking of this magnitude. [ 22 ] The quandaries involved with the procedure of building made it hard for many of the locals to warrant the cost. Because of its alone design and misdirecting relationships between the metropolis and the architecture, many turned the impulse after the games against the planning commission. [ 23 ] But Montreal isn’t the lone Olympic metropolis to confront such troubles in hosting the games. Athens faced much public unfavorable judgment for their Olympic structures in the 2004 Olympics, due to their extraordinary cost and uncorrelated design, the Olympic park is a abandoned environment with small hopes of being rejuvenated in the following few old ages. [ 24 ] Athens and Montreal portion chief similarities in the organisation of their Olympic Parks, one being the disconnected from the remainder of their metropoliss. Alternatively of intermixing into their metropoliss urban environment, the planning commissions designated a whole new country designated merely for the games. There is no integrating with the complex’s doing it hard to trip such sprawled. The location is one of the chief properties to the desolate Olympic site. It is hard to develop touristry when there are so few installations that promote visitor-attraction. The neighbours of the Olympic park are chiefly residential townhouses and edifices, dramatized the graduated table between the surging tower and the low rise lodging. The tower stands at 550’ , the 6Thursdaytallest edifice in Montreal, stressing the huge bleakness environing it. Although the position from the tower above Montreal is said to be brilliant, the position of the tower from below seems lost and out of topographic point amongst the trees. The relationship between the Olympic constructions and the site feels losing, as if sculpting a concrete place gives it grounds to be. This chance was missed by Taillibert by his determination to plan the edifices in Paris alternatively of absorbing himself in the Montreal civilization. [ 25 ]

Paolo Costa Baldi. September 2011. Panoramic position of the Olympic Park.

Since the first modern Olympic game, each host metropolis has faced its portion of jobs and pessimism. The really importance of the games make them a distinguishable mark for public unfavorable judgment and design ridicule. The Montreal Olympic architecture demonstrates how design is molded by the many constituents of force per unit area a metropolis is faced with when hosting the games. Society has turned architecture into its ain class of competition. These outlooks create troubles in prolonging the undertaking and finally take to unrealized possibilities. These combined elements of expensive design, political engagement and unsustainable architectural development, demonstrated the hard undertaking involved with planning for the Olympic Games. Montreal may non be remember for forming the most financially successful Olympics, but the host did carry through one intent of the games and that is making a memorable spectacle. The event conveyed by Montreal is frequently perceived as a lesson to future host metropoliss on what non to make in the planning procedure but there were many positive impacts left from the 1976 Olympics. The bold design of the Montreal Olympic park is a consistent reminded what can be accomplished through modern engineerings and open uping design. Not merely did Taillibert win in introducing techniques while constructing the Montreal Olympic Park, but was successful in run intoing his aim of planing, making and finishing a athleticss composite that could genuinely be described as a “work of art.”

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