2019 Semester in Sustainable Design/Build - Montreal

October 19, 2019
By Madi Visser, Semester Program Teaching Assistant


Written by Lily Hammerling - This past week we spent putting up the rest of the walls. We had to construct the walls in two sections in case we had to dismantle the building if our permit didn’t go through, so the first walls all used 8 foot studs, bringing them to about 100.5 inches total including the bottom plate and two top sill plates. The “second story” wall in the common room is short, only about 3 feet tall while the dorm room “second story” was a little over 7 feet. We spend the afternoon on Friday placing the “second story” walls on top of the first ones, which involved adding braces, a good amount of scaffolding, and lots of person power. Once we had the walls on top we secured them, made them plum and flush, and nailed them in. 


Monday morning we left for Montreal for a class field trip. With passports in hand (we double checked a few times) we headed up 89 and to the border, which ended up not taking long at all. We then headed to a market and had lunch and got to experience a busy lunch rush hour in a French speaking country. Afterwards we walked around at Mount Royal enjoying the brisk fall weather and the views at the top, and then headed to our hostel. We were staying on Rue de St. Paul in the Old Port part of town which was only a few blocks from the St. Lawrence river and along shops and restaurants. We had some free time before dinner and most of us explored and walked around. 


The next day we went to the Biodome and Habitat 67. We were able to go on a tour at Habitat 67 and learn about Expo 67, architect Moshe Safdie and his inspirations, how construction went, and what it’s like to live there today. We saw a historically preserved unit that had previously been used for cocktail parties and dinners for people of high importance during Expo 67. I thought the idea of Habitat 67 was really cool: Safdie wanted to explore the idea of merging vertical housing like highrises with comfortable living space like suburbia. These two ideas came together and resulted in concrete box structures set on top of each other in creating spaces within spaces. Neighbors roofs became terraces, and multi-story apartments had multi-terraces, and community areas and gardens were abundant. I really enjoyed walking around the city looking at roofs, staircases, and siding and seeing Montreal in a different way than ever before.